May 1, 2013 / 2:18 PM / 5 years ago

Feathers fly over French cockerel statue in London's Trafalgar square

LONDON (Reuters) - Plans to erect a statue of a giant, electric blue French cockerel in the shadow of Nelson’s Column in London’s Trafalgar Square have ruffled feathers among British heritage enthusiasts.

A view of Nelson's column in Trafalgar Square in London March 8, 2012. REUTERS/Kieran Doherty

Never mind that Lord Nelson’s greatest victory, the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, was against the French, the 4.7-metre (15-foot) high statue by Katharina Fritsch has been deemed “totally inappropriate” on aesthetic grounds by the campaigners.

The fiberglass cockerel, entitled “Hahn/Cock”, will replace a sculpture of a boy on a rocking horse on the square’s “fourth plinth”, which since 1999 has hosted artworks including a marble carving of a pregnant woman with no arms or legs, and 2,400 selected members of the public posing over 100 consecutive days.

Fritsch described the project in a statement as “mischievously sitting the national symbol of France within a square that celebrates an historical victory over the French”.

But the Thorney Island Society, a local group campaigning for the preservation of heritage in central London, feels such a big and garish object would be out of place anyway.

“It is unrelated to the context of Trafalgar Square and adds nothing to it but a feeble distraction,” group leader, June Stubbs, said in a letter to local city council, Westminster.

The planning application notes the society’s objections and also refers to the artist’s statement in which she describes the statue as a “rude or welcome interruption to the grey, formal architecture of the square”.

“The bizarre scale of the bird diminishes its surroundings and, among the endless flocks of pigeons, it is a species interloper too,” the German artist said.

Westminster has recommended that the statue be approved at a planning committee meeting on May 7, after which it would be on the plinth from July 20 until February 2015.

Reporting by Shadia Nasralla; Editing by Louise Ireland and Stephen Addison

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