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Sculpture of The Winter's Tale by Greg Wyatt

Dr Paul Edmondson and Professor Sir Stanley Wells discuss sculptures of Shakespeare's plays with the sculptor, Greg Wyatt. This sculpture depicts The Winter's Tale.


Edmondson: Well I think The Winter’s Tale is miraculous as a play. I love its magical qualities and the final moments are an apparently dead Queen, the statue of a dead Queen coming to life (Queen Hermione), and this, Greg, is the moment that’s inspired you clearly to make this astonishing work.

Wyatt: Shakespeare refers to the carving of stone in terms of the Pygmalion moment of the transformation. I used the reference to bronze casting as I said in my words before about the technology of delivering the molten bronze. Here I have a treelike transformation using the spruce, the delivery system of foundry mould, that is absorbing the thermoshock of something like 2100 Fahrenheit and white hot metal. The tree, the regenerative tree embracing and penetrating and surrounding the transformative moment--not of stone but of the casting of the bronze. And that’s my idiom here, that’s the medium as message, if you will, the delivery of  life into art.

Wells: This must make this a great challenge for a sculptor to be working in sculpture about a play which is about a sculpture which comes to life, and of course I think this is a wonderfully sexy image, isn’t it, of Hermione when she has come to life. She’s fully women there.

Edmondson: She’s coming to life for her long-lost husband really, Leontes, who she’s not seen for sixteen years. The speech on the back of this sculpture is so positioned that people can sit in the semi-circle position that was especially built for its installation and read the lines from the play while looking at the back of the sculpture itself. And the lines are the extraordinary lines by Paulina, a central character in the play, who conjures as it where this sculpture to life. “Be stone no more,” she says to Hermione, “Nay, descend, ’tis time—Nay, come away,” she says, doesn’t she.

Wells: “It is required you do awake your faith,” it is a wonderful line, yes.

Edmondson: We’re getting a miracle, I think, with The Winter's Tale.

Wells: It is yes.

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