Past Commissions I

Read about the launch of the Fourth Plinth Programme

Fourth Plinth (2005) by Marc QuinnMayor of London

Alison Lapper Pregnant by Marc Quinn, 2005

This was the first commission of the era of the Mayor of London’s Fourth Plinth Programme and the fourth sculpture for the Plinth. Alison Lapper Pregnant was a 3.6m tall and 13,000kg heavy Carrara marble figure of sculptor Marc Quinn's friend and fellow artist Alison Lapper. 

Fourth Plinth (2005) by Marc QuinnMayor of London

A Champion for the Disabled and...

Alison was born with phocomelia and so had no arms and shortened legs; the sculpture also depicted her naked and pregnant with her first child. In fact, this piece was one in a series of eight pieces by Marc depicting people with their disabilities.

... A Conqueror in Her Own Right

With Alison’s sculpture, he wanted to show someone who had “conquered their own circumstances, rather than someone who has conquered the outside world.” A huge inflatable replica of the sculpture was later a centrepiece at the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games. 

Fourth Plinth (2005) by Marc QuinnMayor of London

The First Woman on The Plinth

“I felt that the Square could do with some femininity, linking with Boudicca near the Houses of Parliament. Alison’s statue could represent a new model of female heroism.” ~Marc Quinn

Model for a Hotel (2007) by Thomas SchutteMayor of London

Model for a Hotel by Thomas Schütte, 2007

After Alison Lapper Pregnant came Thomas Schütte’s Model for a Hotel. The first non-Briton to feature on the square, Thomas is known as one of the most influential German artists of his generation. 

Model for a Hotel (2007) by Thomas SchutteMayor of London

A Hotel on the Square...

Model for a Hotel was a scaled up architectural model of a 21-storey building and made from horizonal panes of laminated red, yellow and blue glass held up by steel poles; it was the first sculpture to use bold colour against the grey of the Square. 

Model for a Hotel (2007) by Thomas SchutteMayor of London

... Glimmering Like a Jewel

“It is like a jewel. I wanted to put a glamorous building on the plinth. Glamour is necessary: it is a luxury product.” ~Thomas Schütte

One & Other (2009) by Antony GormleyMayor of London

One and Other by Antony Gormley, 2009

With One and Other, sculptor and now Sir Antony Gormley literally handed the plinth over to the public, bringing live art to the Square.  Every hour, 24 hours a day for 100 days starting on 6 July 2009, different people stood on the Plinth. They were randomly selected from 35,000 applicants for the piece, including Gormley himself (who was not selected).

One & Other (2009) by Antony GormleyMayor of London


‘Plinthers’, as they were subsequently and affectionately called, were live-streamed world-wide and included a graduate with a scaled-up version of his CV, nine naked people and a man who gave out his mobile number and asked people to text him their secrets  that he then read out loud.

A documentary art book entitled One and Other was published in 2010 and documents the journey of each plinther. 

One & Other (2009) by Antony GormleyMayor of London

A Democracy of Heroism

“The original idea for One and Other came from the question ‘What are plinths for?’ They usually have on them important people, often people who have served their country and are in some ways heroes, people whom we are invited to look up to. I wanted to democratise this.” ~Antony Gormley

Nelson's Ship in a Bottle (2010) by Yinka Shonibare CBEMayor of London

Nelson's Ship in a Bottle by Yinka Shonibare, MBE, 2010

Nelson's Ship in a Bottle was the first commission of the programme to reflect on the historical symbolism of Trafalgar Square by commemorating the Battle of Trafalgar, and the first by a Black British artist, Yinka Shonibare, MBE.

Fourth Plinth (2010) by Yinka ShonibareMayor of London

HMS Victory Comes to the Square

The piece was an intricately designed scale replica of HMS Victory, Lord Nelson’s flagship during the Battle of Trafalgar and on which he was killed. With 80 cannons, it was topped with 37 sails made with patterned African textiles that are Yinka’s trademark and that he buys in London.

Nelson's Ship in a Bottle (2010) by Yinka Shonibare CBEMayor of London

An Object of Wonder

“… It’s a celebration of London's immense ethnic wealth, giving expression to and honouring the many cultures and ethnicities that are still breathing precious wind into the sails of the United Kingdom… A ship in a bottle is an object of wonder... With Nelson's Ship in a Bottle I want to take this childhood sense of wonder and amplify it to match the monumental scale of Trafalgar Square." ~Yinka Shonibare, MBE

Powerless Structures Fig 101 (2012) by Elmgreen & DragsetMayor of London

Powerless Structures, Fig 101 by Elmgreen & Dragset, 2012

Powerless Structures, Fig. 101 was a 4.11m tall, golden-bronze sculpture of a boy in shorts astride his rocking horse. Created by Berlin-based art duo Danish Michael Elmgreen and Norwegian Ingar Dragset, the sculpture was part of their series of installations called Powerless Structures that they had started in 1997. 

Powerless Structures Fig 101 (2012) by Elmgreen & DragsetMayor of London

A New Kind of Heroism

Powerless Structures, Fig 101 was designed to portray ‘the heroism of growing up,’ in contrast to the heroism and power of kings and military leaders. The artists also wanted it to be symbol of youth and hope particularly at a time when they felt that growing up was filled with angst and anxiety.

Powerless Structures Fig 101 (2012) by Elmgreen & DragsetMayor of London

In Honour of Childhood

“We wanted to create a public sculpture that, rather than dealing with topics of victory or defeat, honours the everyday battles of growing up.” ~Elmgreen and Dragset

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L Rhoda Molife

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