The Story Behind The Sculpture
Since Liverpool’s new Beatles sculpture was unveiled last month, the sight of ‘The Beatles’, once again walking along Liverpool’s Waterfront has entranced both city dwellers and tourists alike. But many may not see the narrative woven into the statue itself.
It’s Liverpool discovers the story behind our city’s new Beatles sculpture and the hidden ‘talismans’ it contains. But first, where did the idea come from?
For sculptor Chris Butler, from Castle Fine Arts Foundry, artistic inspiration came from an unlikely setting.
“I had this strange sort of feeling, the first time I walked through Liverpool ONE when it opened back in 2008. It was so big it felt almost like it had been dropped into the centre of the city. For years we’d seen the cranes and we’d seen the models but, all of a sudden, bang, Liverpool ONE was there.”
“At first I felt like I could be anywhere. Then I walked up those steps by HMV and there was this huge photograph of The Beatles walking down the streets. That picture said “You’re in Liverpool”. I thought that would be a fantastic concept for a Beatles statue”
Chris approached sculptor Andy Edwards to help bring his vision to life. Andy previous work included a colossal Muhammed Ali statue and the poignant ‘The Truce’, a statue capturing the Christmas football match between Allied and German forces in World War 1.
From there, Chris’s idea developed into models. Bill Heckle, managing director of ‘The Cavern Clu’ saw the models and commissioned full size bronze sculptures, which he donated to Liverpool.
Unveiled this winter on the Pier Head, the statue of the four Beatles captures a moment before they left the city and before they became the megastars they would be, changing music forever.
The likeness of the Beatles is striking from top to toe, right down to the winklepickers and laces on Lennon’s shoes. The attention to detail came from a cinematic source, explains Chris.
“Andy was working in the studio in the Wedgwood Factory. He was working on the statues in clay which we would then work up. He had books and photographs but also had A Hard Day’s Night constantly playing on a loop without the sound. If he looked at John Lennon and saw his head move a certain way he’d go to the clay and capture all the positions and movements”.
The positioning of the Beatles in the sculpture, what you see and even their hands is significant. “If you look at the order (The Beatles) are standing in in the picture outside HMV we’ve actually moved them around (it goes Paul, George, Ringo John). This actually replicates the order they would be in on stage. Paul and George would share a mic, John would be on the other side and Ringo behind”.
“They’re all walking and basically on the same step but all slightly out of step. The only hands in the sculpture are Paul’s left hand and John’s right hand” The hands, Beatles fans will know, they used to play guitar.
There are also little features, talisman, for each member of the band.
“On the back of George’s belt there’s a Indian mantra. Ringo has L8 written on the sole of his shoe. Paul is carrying a camera and camera bag referencing Kodak and Linda”.
For John, Chris and Andy had wanted to use across. John and Yoko would send acorns to world leaders to symbolise world peace. In John’s hand are two little acorns but they connect with a very different period of time.
“We’d been looking for acorns but couldn’t find any. Anyway I was in New York in Central Park and I remembered about the acorns. I walked to the Dakota Building (outside of which Lennon was shot in December 1980) and found two acorns. I picked them up and took them home where we cast them. So the two acorns in John’s hand are from outside The Dakota building. They’re different from English acorns.”
So the next time you’re at Liverpool’s waterfront be sure to take in the story behind another memorable moment in the Fab Four’s journey and enduring legacy.