From Charing Cross to the Lincoln Center

Within easy walking distance of where I live in South West London is the Charing Cross Hospital. It was built between 1969 and 1973 on the site of the old Fulham Union Workhouse, later the Fulham Infirmary of 1884, which was demolished in 1966 to make way for the new hospital.

Within the landscaped grounds of the hospital you can find three quite interesting and different sculptures.

A basement-level cobbled courtyard has as its centrepiece the bronze “Horse and Rider” by Robert Clatworthy (1928-2015). This sculpture has been on loan from The British Land Company since 1995, which is accessible only from the hospital but can be viewed from the entrance level.

“Horse and Rider” by Robert Clatworthy
“Horse and Rider” by Robert Clatworthy

An abstract stone sculpture by Tadeusz Koper (1913-1995) is on the grass by the car park exit south of the main entrance. It was donated by the artist, who was a patient at the hospital in 1975, and dates from 1965.

Sculpture by Tadeusz Koper
Sculpture by Tadeusz Koper

The most important sculpture is Henry Moore’s “Reclining Figure”, located in the water garden outside the hospital entrance – a location chosen by Moore himself. The piece was loaned to the hospital by Henry Moore in 1975. The work was then given to the Tate in 1978, who in turn extended its loan to the hospital.

“Reclining Figure” working model by Henry Moore
“Reclining Figure” working model by Henry Moore

The sculpture was originally the half-size working model of Moore’s “Reclining Figure” which is located at the Lincoln Center of Performing Arts in New York.

"Reclining Figure" working model by Henry Moore
“Reclining Figure” working model by Henry Moore

The Lincoln Center is not one building, it’s a sixteen-acre complex comprising more than two dozen theatres, studios, and schools. It’s home to eleven arts organisations and, through its first building (now known as David Geffen Hall) which opened only in 1962, has become one of the best-known arts organisations in the world. Its main Plaza, facing the Metropolitan Opera House and flanked by Geffen Hall, with broad steps leading down to Columbus Avenue, has become a symbol of both the city and the arts.

"Reclining Figure" by Henry Moore at the Lincoln Center
“Reclining Figure” by Henry Moore at the Lincoln Center

Within the complex is the Juilliard Building. This Brutalist-style structure is the home of the dauntingly competitive Juilliard School for dance, music and drama. Renee Fleming, Kevin Kline and Robin Williams are just a few of the school’s illustrious alumni. In front of the Juilliard Building in the reflective pool is the Henry Moore “Reclining Figure” – bringing an added cultural resonance to any visit to the Lincoln Center.

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