One of The Royal Park’s more unusual landmarks has been recognised as one of the country’s most important post war statues.
The Pan Statue in Hyde Park has been added to Historic England’s List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest as a Grade II structure.
It is one of 41 post-war sculptures recently listed by Historic England and will feature in its Out There: Our Post War Public Art exhibition being held in the East Wing Galleries, Somerset House, between February 3 and April 10.
Located at Edinburgh Gate, the bronze statue depicts a family and their dog rushing towards Hyde Park while being followed by Pan – the Greek god of the wild, shepherds, flocks and goats.
Commissioned by the then chairman of the Land Securities Investment Trust, Sir Harold Samuel, and designed by renowned artist Sir Jacob Epstein, Historic England decided to list the statue for two key reasons:
- Artistic interest: a compelling response to its setting at an entrance to Hyde Park, the sculpture demonstrates the energy and spirit associated with its creator in an expressive and dynamic form; and
- Historic interest: as the final work by the internationally renowned artist Sir Jacob Epstein.
The statue, which was a gift to the nation by Land Securities, was moved to its current location in 2010 following the demolition of Bowater House.
Listing the statue as Grade II enables Historic England to mark the statue's special national architectural and historic interest. It also provides it with specific protection so that its special recognition can be properly considered in managing its future. However, listing does not mean that alterations cannot be made.
In a report confirming the listing, Historic England's Listings Team Leader Veronica Fiorato said: “The Pan Statue evokes a sense of energy and movement at its location at an entrance to Hyde Park. It was also the last work by the internationally renowned, if sometimes controversial (in terms of the appreciation of his work), artist Sir Jacob Epstein.”
The Pan Statue is now among about 100 other public sculptures dating from 1945 which are listed.