‘Poorest Quality’ Statue of Prince Philip Ordered to be Removed by Cambridge Council

A Cambridge council has ordered the removal of a faceless statue of the late Prince Philip, according to the Guardian. Years after it was initially erected without permission, the statue will be removed from the site.

The 13-foot monument depicting the late queen’s husband in academic robes with an abstracted face stands outside of a Cambridge office block. It was previously described by Cambridge city council public art officer Nadine Black as “possibly the poorest quality work that has ever been submitted to the council”.

“It is not site-specific and is a work already purchased and has no relationship to this site. It is too large a scale for the context of the space it will be located within and will compromise the quality of the new development,” she continued.

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“The Don”, as it is known, was designed to commemorate Philip’s 35-year post as chancellor of Cambridge University. Unfortunately, the £150,000 work was not well-received.

The piece has been heavily criticized, and no artist has ever stepped forward to claim it as their own. The Unex Group, which commissioned the piece, has said that it was made by Uruguayan sculptor Pablo Atchugarry. The artist, however, has denied this claim.

In 2014, planning permission was not granted. Yet, the piece was placed outside the Charter House office block in the city’s centre roughly four years ago. An enforcement notice to remove the statue was sent by the city council to the landowner, the Unex Group. The statue must be removed by August.

“Nobody, apart from the wealthy property developer who commissioned it, seems to have a good word to say about it”, the executive councillor for planning Katie Thornburrow wrote on her website. “I will be glad to see it gone, but remain angry that developers could just dump it in place and then force the council to spend officers’ time and money getting them to take it away. We deserve better.”

On March 5, an enforcement notice issued by the Greater Cambridge shared planning service pointed to a “harmful material impact” that required its removal, barring an appeal.

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