Tribute to WB Yeats with art installation near west London home

Tribute to WB Yeats with art installation near west London home

ON Tuesday, September 6, poets, actors, writers and lovers of the written word will gather together in celebration of Ireland’s national poet, Nobel Prize winner, co-founder of the Abbey Theatre and an outstanding figure in 20th century literature, WB Yeats.

Inspired by Yeats’s poem Enwrought Light, Conrad Shawcross’s artwork in honour of the poet will be unveiled just beside St Michael & All Angels, Bath Rd, Chiswick, London W4 1TX.

The WB Yeats Bedford Park Artwork Project, founded and led by local poet Cahal Dallat from Cushendall, Co. Antrim has been responsible for the entire process.

In a statement the organisers say: “We’re set to unveil the artwork at the ‘gateway’ to the world’s first garden suburb with its beautifully conserved arts & crafts environment. This dazzling Yeats-inspired sculpture by artist and youngest ever Royal Academician Conrad Shawcross, comes with lines from the Yeats poem He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven, engraved in a wide circular stone base.”

The poem, originally entitled Aedh Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven, is one of Yeats’s best known works. It begins:

Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths Enwrought with golden and silver light, The blue and the dim and the dark cloths Of night and light and the half light

The poem finishes with the oft-quoted last line:

“Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.”

The artist Conrad Shawcross (45) specialises in mechanical sculptures based on philosophical and scientific ideas, and to some extent the artwork attempts to resonate with some of Yeats’s more metaphysical thinking.

The site of the installation, St Michael & All Angels, is the church where the Yeats family worshipped — WB’s grandfather and great-grandfather were both Anglican clergymen.

The work by Shawcross will honour the poet some fi fty yards from his childhood home at the entrance to Chiswick’s Bedford Park. Yeats would have passed the church on his way to Godolphin School in Hammersmith. Although born in Dublin, much of the poet’s early education was in England.

The unveiling of the artwork at 4.30pm is a free public event with recitations of Yeats’ poems from local schoolchildren, and music from performers from Irish Heritage.

There will be an address by Rowan WIlliams, poet and former Archbishop of Canterbury.

An evening of verse

At 6.30pm The Josephine Hart Poetry Hour will further celebrate Yeats’s work at St Michael & All Angels with readers of poetry including the actors Sinéad Cusack, Ciarán Hinds and Ruth Negga. Shevaun Wilder directs.

Lord Maurice Saatchi set up The Josephine Hart Poetry Foundation in 2011 to carry on the work of his late wife, the Mullingar-born novelist, publisher and poetry evangelist Josephine Hart.

The Josephine Hart Poetry Hour event on September 6 at 6.30 has already proved very popular, but some tickets may become available this week.

Check on the websites or All proceeds go to the WB Yeats Artwork Project.