Six bronze horses created by the British sculptor Hamish Mackie were unveiled on 25 June, 2015 galloping through an extraordinary new public square at Goodman’s Fields in Aldgate. A large crowd descended on E1 to witness the spectacle including friends of the sculptor, owners of the equine muses and many of the the craftsmen and women who had worked on this incredible project.
Each of the six giant bronze sculptures weighs a tonne and over a kilometre of armature steel was required to build them. They will now sit at the heart of a 7 acre mixed use development, providing 1,038 new homes and 600 permanent jobs, as well as a one acre public park.
The sculptures were commissioned by Berkeley Homes to bring alive the history of the site, where once Mr. Goodman leased out the fields for London’s livery horses. They will now hurtle in an arc through the piazza towards Leman Street where the lead stallion rears up dramatically – eyeballing commuters on every passing double-decker bus.
Guests enjoyed a glamorous party organised by Studio Design with bountiful food by Alison Price, a special Sipsmith bar and stunning floral decorations by leading florist Simon Lycett to the sounds of local London trio Kitty, Daisy and Lewis. The evening was compered by Kate Silverton and an amusing Q&A took place in which Kate banned Hamish from using his notes.
Tony Pidgley CBE, Chairman of the Berkeley Group, said:
‘Development is about creating communities. At Goodman’s Fields, we wanted to create one of the finest new squares in London, somewhere you want to meet your friends, relax, read a book and enjoy yourself. Public realm must be at the heart of all regeneration in a world class city. It’s the bedrock upon which you create a sense of community.’
The artist Hamish Mackie reflected:
‘It has been a sculptor’s dream to be involved in creating a wonderful new place, with the support of a patron prepared to back ideas. This has been by far my biggest project. The horses needed 6.5 tonnes of clay. To put this into perspective I normally use 250 kg of clay in a year!’
Speaking at the launch event, Housing Minister Brandon Lewis MP said:
“I’m delighted to help unveil these new sculptures. They are a testament to the excellence of this entire site and will undoubtedly be welcomed by the thousands of people who are making Goodman’s Fields their new home. Developments like this prove that our long-term economic plan is on track, getting Britain building and delivering the quality homes that hard-working people deserve.”
Hamish Mackie began his career as a sculptor in a converted carthorse stable and became known for his ability to capture the essence, movement and energy of wild animals in their natural habitat. He models directly into clay after an intense period of observation, expressing the individual character of each animal he sculpts.
To set the horses in Goodman’s Fields, Berkeley commissioned some of the leading technical and landscaping engineers in the UK. John Murdoch of Murdoch Wickham Landscape Architects, has designed a landscape that matches the horses in beauty and ambition: mature trees, pools and fountains follow the curved path of their charge through the piazza.
The sculptures also echo London’s rich equine history and highlight the profound relationship that a city built on horse-power has with this magnificent animal.