White Horse at Ebbsfleet
|The White Horse at Ebbsfleet
|Location||Springhead, Ebbsfleet Valley, Kent, England|
|Type||Colossal equine statue|
|Material||steel frame, concrete skin|
|Length||56 metres (184 ft)|
|Height||50 metres (160 ft)|
The White Horse at Ebbsfleet, formerly the Ebbsfleet Landmark, colloquially the Angel of the South, is a planned white horse statue to be built in the Ebbsfleet Valley in Kent, England. Designed by Mark Wallinger to faithfully resemble a thoroughbred horse, but at 33 times life size, the colossal sculpture will be 50 metres (160 ft) high.
Taller than the Angel of the North in Gateshead and Dream in St. Helens, as a highly visible piece of public art, it is intended to highlight the Ebbsfleet redevelopment area and the Ebbsfleet International railway station in particular. It will be visible from both the A2 road and High Speed 1 railway line, which cross each other nearby.
After a design 'competition', Wallinger's vision of a white horse was selected by a panel of self-appointed representatives from each of the three founding patrons / developers of the Ebbsfleet Landmark Project Ltd (ELP Ltd) - London and Continental Railways, Land Securities and Eurostar -. Four other art advisors were also appointed to the panel by ELP Ltd. Planning permission for the structure was granted by Gravesham Council on 15 April 2010.
Though originally estimated at £2 million, costs are now estimated to be £12 million according to Ben Ruse, a spokesman for the project based at London and Continental Railways offices in London.
The project is intended to be privately funded. As of February 2008, in excess of £1 million had been committed to the project by the founding patrons (of ELP Ltd)  from London and Continental Railways who are "actively promoting the development of regeneration opportunities in Ebbsfleet", Land Securities "the UK's leading Real Estate Investment Trust"  and from Eurostar.
As of June 2012, the project was stalled for a lack of funding.
Prior to any design being announced, the sculpture was planned as a counterpart to Antony Gormley's Angel of the North at Gateshead (with a stipulation that it be at least twice as wide and high, and visible from 20 miles away), and to mark one of six main "gateways" to London, hence the informal name Angel of the South being adopted early on for the formally named Ebbsfleet Landmark Project Ltd.
The sculpture will be made from concrete laid over a steel primary and secondary inner frame. It will be supported by 25 metres (82 ft) deep concrete foundations. At 33 times life size, it will measure 50 metres (160 ft) vertically from the ground to the tip of the ears, 40 metres (130 ft) to the top of the back, and 56 metres (184 ft) horizontally, from nose to tail. It will be "a faithfully accurate representation of a thoroughbred racehorse in all but scale".
The sculpture will be located at Springhead near Springhead Road, Northfleet, in a site designated as the proposed "linear park". The sculpture is intended to highlight the Ebbsfleet Valley regeneration area, and Ebbsfleet International railway station in particular, in a similar manner to the Angel of the North in Gateshead and Dream in St. Helens.
From this location it will be visible from both road traffic on the A2 road, and from the High Speed 1 railway line, used by both Eurostar international services and domestic high speed services.
Gormley and other artists were invited to admit designs on 22 May 2007, by which time the site (a hill outside the new Eurostar station at Ebbsfleet International, near Land Securities' Springhead Park residential development) had been announced. A shortlist of 5 was chosen on 28 January 2008 (consisting of Mark Wallinger, Rachel Whiteread, Richard Deacon, Christopher le Brun, and Daniel Buren), with press coverage noting the omission of Gormley. The artists were given 3 months from then to produce their proposals, which were displayed to the public from May 2008 at Bluewater Shopping Centre. Le Brun produced a winged disc; Buren a tower of 5 cubes; Deacon a stack of 26 different steel polyhedra; Wallinger a realistic sculpture of a horse, in honour of Horsa; and Whiteread a plaster cast of a house's interior atop an artificially-created mountain. In September 2008 the shortlist was reduced to three designs: Deacon's, Buren's and Wallinger's. The competition triggered public interest, and was the subject of a satirical series of cartoons in Steve Bell's If... series between 4 and 8 February 2008, and in May 2008. Locally, however, it has been the subject of apathy or even hostility.
White Horse figure selected
On 10 February 2009 the BBC announced that the winner was Wallinger's realistic sculpture of a horse. The statue is modeled on one of Wallinger's own racehorses "Riviera Red"; which coincidentally won the 4.20 race at Lingfield on 10 February 2009, the same day that the artist's sculpture won the competition. Riviera Red is trained by L Montague Hall.
Planning permission granted
A planning application was submitted until to Gravesham Borough Council's planning committee in January 2010, who voted unanimously to grant planning permission for the structure on 14 April 2010. despite opposition from local residents
White horse of Kent
The white horse has long been an ancient symbol of Kent, and white horse hill figures are a common feature of England as a whole. The Angel of the South has been referred to as both the White Horse of Ebbsfleet and the White Horse of Kent, however the White horse of Kent that is commonly used as a symbol of Kent is more correctly depicted as a prancing (or rampant in heraldry) white horse, rearing up on its hind legs, which can also be referred to as Invicta, which is the motto of Kent. Also sometimes referred to as the White Horse of Kent is the Folkestone White Horse. Kent County Council initially criticised the design for not depicting the horse as prancing like Invicta. A proposal resembling Invicta was submitted by Kent County Council in response to Wallinger's entry, but was rejected by judges.
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- ebbsfleetlandmark.com - official website