Exeter at Christmas
We had gone for some retail therapy but found so much more on our visit to Exeter – Blue Boy, Pedestrians, mural of the unknown as well as Christmas decorations. This is a city we have visited many times but have never really SEEN it!
Blue Boy statue
This brightly coloured statue represents the ‘Blue Boys’ of St Johns Hospital School established in 1633 in buildings that used to occupy the hospital dating back to 1238. The pupils wore blue caps and gowns hence the name given to them. The school remain on the site until 1933 and was finally destroyed by bombs in 1942.
The Year of the Pedestrian
If you live in the UK you may remember celebrating the Year of the Pedestrian in 1988 – 89. It is a vague memory for me but so interesting that cities marked the event. This staute was created by Carole Vincet from Boscastle in Cornwall and is one of four commissioned by Devon County Council for their main towns – Barnstaple, Plymouth, Torbay and Exeter. It is made of concrete which is a favourite medium for the artist to work with.
This piece of art is described as being like Marmite – you either love it or hate it.
It’s origins seem to go back to a series of murals on a blank wall since 1991 when the city council again commissioned work for it to be covered. The first mural was of a Tudor House and balcony. As the years passed and different retailers took over the building it was left to fade until 2011 when Urban Outfitters took over the lease and asked international artist Alexandro Farto to replace it.
The result is this stunning portrait of an unknown woman, firstly painted on the wall then chiseled away to accentuate the details. As one commentator has said though, there does not seem to be any connection with the history or culture of the city of Exeter.
As we visited in that ‘in-between’ week that sits from Christmas Day to New Year’s Day, the Christmas decorations were still up and what splendid ones they were. Many councils have reduced spending on decorations in recent years and I know some have not financed any but these were great.
Well done to the council in Devon which over the years has shown great support for art and culture and the belief that it should be shared with the public!
Have you found hidden gems in a place you know well?