W B Yeats Bedford Park Artwork Project
Why a Yeats/Bedford-Park Artwork?
Nobel-Prize-winning poet, WB Yeats, though inspired by Irish legend, landscape & longing, actually spent two-thirds of his young life among the roadways & pavements grey cited in his much-loved poem, The Lake Isle of Innisfree, written here in Bedford Park & reflecting an exile’s urban/London experience crucial to shaping both Yeats’s (& Ireland’s) identity, & English literature.
Yeats spent most of his London family years here in Chiswick, West London, in Bedford Park, the world’s first-ever garden-suburb, whose diverse, Bohemian, artists’-colony residents, fostered the young Irish poet’s unique creative genius.
The only poet writing in English & brought up in England to win the Nobel Prize has, however, no monument in England.
Time to Celebrate Yeats, Bedford Park, poetry, art, genius…Help the Artwork Project, a community-led local group, now a registered arts/educational charity, to commission & install a major contemporary sculpture here in Bedford Park (the first honouring Yeats in Britain) to —
- Celebrate poetry, & Yeats’s poetry in particular
- Honour a local resident who became a major international literary figure
- Highlight Bedford Park’s role in fostering Yeats’s genius
- Inspire young people locally, students & schoolchildren to experience, enjoy & participate in poetry, drama & visual arts
- Encourage the local West London community to take pride in the area’s unique cultural & artistic heritage
- Recall the mutually-valuable London-Ireland cultural interaction exemplified by Yeats’s life & work
- Acknowledge migrant comminities’ – & not just London-Irish migrants communities’ – invaluable role in creating & enriching London’s culture
- Recognise the capital’s history as a hub for migrants contributing to our shared arts & culture, while benefiting from the city’s resources/networks to develop their own artistic ideas & identity
- Promote contemporary art
- Enhance the local environment
- Emphasise the importance of the built environment in nurturing creativity & community, culture & the arts
- Underline Bedford Park’s historic importance as a progressive, artistic community, the world’s first garden suburb, & a model for holistic housing development worldwide
- Provide a London place-of-literary-pilgrimage for poets, academics, Yeatsians & anyone who loves art & culture, from Britain, Ireland, the US, & around the world, bringing them to the shops & cafés at Bedford Park Corner, Turnham Green & Chiswick High Road
- Spotlight the revitalised Bedford Park & Turnham Green Terrace ‘Culture Quarter’, as a centre of contemporary creativity including Arts Ed, the new Chiswick Playhouse, Chiswick Book Festival & Bedford Park Festival
- Create a contemporary counterpoint to Hogarth’s (18c) statue at the southern end of Turnham Green Terrace
- Complement Chiswick Timeline’s Turnham Green Terrace artwork & public spaces outlining Chiswick’s history & importance to artists & writers
Close by we’ll have information panels on Yeats’s Bedford Park networks & connections, links to online info on WB & the talented Yeats family (artist father John Butler Yeats, brother Jack B Yeats, a major 20c painter, & sisters Lily & Lolly who founded Ireland’s craft industries), on Bedford Park itself as a social-experiment/architectural-gem, on the Arts&Crafts movement, & on the area’s many fascinating poets, painters, playwrights, publishers, philosophers, folklorists, set-designers, actors, & anarchists!
Project supported by Embassy of Ireland (Great Britain)
Placing the Artwork
The project’s goal is the creation/installation of a contemporary artwork at the ‘gateway’ to Bedford Park expressing/celebrating the synergies between WB Yeats’s developing genius & Bedford Park’s progressive/experimental community, with its social & cultural networks & its role as a 19c artistic & literary hub.
All planned talks and walks currently on hold…
Tue 25 Feb 2020, 7.30 pm: A Whole Day’s Dreaming: Yeats, the Thames, and Poetry
The Thames has long had a magnetic attraction for writers and artists but for Nobel-Prize-winning poet WB Yeats, growing up in nearby Bedford Park, the riverbanks between Chiswick Pier & Hammersmith were a vital resource: both a place to meet influential and inspirational people, and the source of one of the world’s best-loved poems of longing, The Lake Isle of Innisfree.
Chiswick poets Cahal Dallat and Anne-Marie Fyfe, both from Ireland’s Glens of Antrim, conjure up for us, through talk, excerpts from the young WB Yeats’s poems & letters, and a little music, Yeats’s late-19th-century Thames-side circle of poets, painters, playwrights, political thinkers and small-press publishers, and the natural riverbank world of willows, osiers, & water lapping with low sounds by the shore.
The Lake Isle of Innisfree
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles
Nine bean–rows will I have there, a hive for the
And live alone in the bee–loud glade.
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the
cricket sings ;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.
Support the Artwork Project
We’ve raised starter funds through guided literary walks around Yeats’s Bedford Park, and we now have a £5,000 grant from Embassy of Ireland/Ambasáid na hÉireann, £21,860 of pledges and support-in-kind from individuals and organisations, a £25,000 grant commitment from an arts foundation, & just over £8,000 in individual donations, making £60,000. Still just under halfway to our target of £130,000!
Our donations page has been temporarily suspended due to the current crisis: to support the project please
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We’re now a Charitable Incorporated Organisation registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales (Registration# 1172224) with committee, patrons, trustees (see more) and a constitution with formally registered Aims & Objectives:
- To advance art and to advance education in the works of WB Yeats and the history and heritage of Bedford Park for the benefit of the public, by the provision of a public artwork in commemoration of the life and works of the Nobel-prizewinning Irish poet and dramatist WB Yeats.
- To promote the enhancement and improvement of the area of Bedford Park for the public benefit by the provision of a public artwork.