Another green man : Sir Alfred East

Yet another statue – the great advantage of taking photographs of statues for novice photographers being – do you see?- that they don’t move about.

Following on from what I was saying about the statute of John Betjeman at St Pancras, and its hue, here is another very green man – the bust of Sir Alfred East outside the eponymous Art Gallery in Kettering. 

Alfred East RA, painter

East was a painter of very pleasant landscapes.  When he died he lay in state in the gallery surrounded by examples of his work, and attracted  many thousands of visitors.  I don’t want to put ideas into his head, but I wonder whether Damien Hirst might be able to think of some imaginative variations on this idea when his time comes.  Perhaps involving bluebottles?  But let’s not go there.

Too green? John Betjeman at St Pancras

I would just like to announce that this blog has now entered a new era, and has taken a further step along the road to becoming a true Multi-Media Experience.  I have managed to acquire a digital camera (by inheritance from my daughter) so readers had better brace themselves for a brief, Toad-like outbust of enthusiasm for photography.  It’s the only thing, you know, and, of course, so much less effort than actually writing something.  At present, I am roughly to the world of photography what Cyril Smith is to the modelling of skinny jeans, but perhaps I shall improve with practice.

Anyway, here is my first photograph –

John Betjeman at St Pancras

 This, as you will observe, is the much-lauded statue of John Betjeman at St Pancras Station.  My normal route out of the station doesn’t take me past this, but occasionally – when the elevators are broken – it does and my point is that every time I pass him he seems to get greener and greener.  I’m sure he didn’t look quite like this when the statue was new.

I believe this is because the statue is made of bronze, which is largely made of copper, which – as we know from looking at lightning conductors on the spires of churches – turns green when it oxidises – but quite how green is he going to get?  He did write –

“Little, alas, to you I mean

For I am old and bald and green.”

But surely not this green?

(Incidentally, this will have to count as my contribution to the celebration of St Patrick’s Day).


Have they not heard of Dura-glit?