The Maggi Hambling sculpture
from the car park, the
sculpture is dwarfed by
the Suffolk landscape.
on New Year's Eve 2006, the graffiti becomes clear.
the lettering which concerns us is cut into the thick steel.
stencil font (to retain, for example, the centre of the letter 'O')
follows the ripples in the metal.
Benjamin Britten, one of the twentieth-century's most
composers, spent much of his life in Aldeburgh
and nearby Snape. The inspiration he drew from the area is most
notable in the famous 'Four Sea Interludes' from his opera
Peter Grimes. The violinist Yehudi Menuhin once commented,
'If wind and water could write music, it would sound like
In November 2003, a striking tribute to Britten and his music
unveiled on the beach just north of Aldeburgh. Scallop, a four-metre
high steel sculpture, was conceived by Suffolk-born artist Maggi
Hambling, and made by Aldeburgh craftsmen Sam and Dennis Pegg. It
stands near the Thorpe Road car park on the coast road between
Aldeburgh and Thorpeness.
The phrase from the libretto of Britten's opera Peter Grimes:
hear those voices that will not be drowned' is pierced through the
steel, to be read against the sky. Images of wings rising in flight,
swimming fish and the ripple of waves are all suggested by the work,
whose scallop forms also recall ancient symbols of pilgrimage, Venus
and the sea.
Indeed, Maggi Hambling thinks of Scallop as a conversation
the sea: 'An important part of my concept is that at the centre of the
sculpture, where the sound of the waves and the winds are focused, a
visitor may sit and contemplate the mysterious power of the sea'.
Scallop was given to Suffolk Coastal by the artist and by the
Adnams Charity, which co-ordinated the raising of funds from numerous
individual donors and grant-making trusts.
The rather insignificant 'controversy' surrounding the
and the repeated daubing with paint by local thugs shouldn't cloud the
beauty of the structure and the multiple meanings of the quotation.
Shortly after our photographs were taken the graffiti was cleaned off.
If it gets daubed again, rest assured the sculpture will
the paint, will stand and survive in the wild weather of Aldeburgh
Photographs of the grafitti-free Scallop in April 2011: