Rabbit Sculpture

Rabbit sculpture on the Peter Pan monument, London.

Rabbit sculpture is frequent enough in little table and garden ornaments of no pretension, but to find carved rabbits on public monuments and in architectural sculpture is really rather unusual, perhaps because the rabbit is not emblematic of any noble attribute or characteristic that would be naturally associated with a great statesman – burrowing, jumping, having long, silky ears – and reproductive facility, though approved of in Victorian times, to some extent, feels a little vulgar. The only good example of public rabbit sculpture I could think of – an Edwardian example – is the Peter Pan memorial in Kensington Gardens, London. This has a charming group of rabbits emerging from a hole, and another pair with a snail, also by a burrow. The sculptor was George Frampton, well known for ideal works.

Aesop's Hare in Liverpool.

This picture showsa hare, in a scene from one of Aesop’s fables on a building in Victoria Street, Liverpool. Rather large in size, for narrative reasons, it squats in a depression in the ground, and while the various attributes of a hare are there – the ears, the tail, the shape of the back, it is not a particularly successful rendering of the little beast.

A.G. Walker's rabbit and faun.

This third example is another rabbit, accompanying a faun, in a work by Alfred G. Walker, rather a late work dating from the 1920s. He was another New Sculptor, like Frampton, and his oeuvre includes some good animal sculpture, notable on the Church of the Agapomene in North London.

Sophie Ryder, rabbit-headed nudes.

In more modern times, from the 1980s the Welsh-born artist Barry Flanagan made a feature of leaping hares, some of prodigious size. And a more modern sculptor called Sophie Ryder has had a temporary installation of her nude figures with rabbit heads, or rabbit masks, in St James Square, London.

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