Three Cows in Mecklenburgh Square Garden

by Noelle Vickers

Three cows caused an uproar in Mecklenburgh Square Garden last summer. Fortunately, as they were of the man-made variety rather than real, we didn't have too much mess to clear up!

Three CowsThree Cows in a Pile is the creation of John Kelly, painter/sculptor and alumnus of Goodenough College. Kelly's previous monumental works include Cow Up a Tree, which featured on the front page of Libération and in The Times, when it appeared as part of the1999 'Champs de la Sculpture' exhibition on the Champs élysées in Paris and the 2002 Monte Carlo Sculpture Festival 'Parade des Animaux'.

Three Cows is a new work, which was the centrepiece at Glastonbury music festival in 2005 and moved thence to Mecklenburgh Square gardens in August.

Six Metres High

When fully installed, the sculpture measured six metres high; but, before then, each of the three bronze cows (each measuring two metres high, 5.5 metres long) became airborne for several minutes as they were lifted into place by a large industrial crane. The assembly process was a spectacular, if not unusual, photo opportunity.

John Kelly has had an interest in camouflage as an artistic medium for many years. Whilst at the College, he tried to acquire a warship so that he could re-create the 'dazzle' camouflage used on ships on the North Atlantic run. Sadly all he could get was a minesweeper and unfortunately he had to return to Australia before he could paint it. Perhaps another time!

International Artist

Kelly is an artist with a large international following. The College was therefore delighted when he offered to create a limited edition etching of the cows, which he generously donated to the College. It, in turn, sold them to 50 members of the alumni, thus raising more than £20,000 for College bursaries. The Cows moved on from Mecklenburgh Square in October.

It is hoped that in future the College and the gardens in the Square will become a regular exhibition space for young artists. Potential exhibitors should contact Noelle Vickers (click to email) or Roger Llewellyn at (click to email)/a>.