On taking a casual look at a new booklet that had suddenly appeared with the puzzling title of 'artathon' and an even more baffling cover I was delighted to find that it was in fact a guide to public sculpture and works of art in Ipswich. Although it is essentially very good - useful descriptions, attractive illustrations and helpful maps - I have a few reservations.
I'm puzzled by the omissions. Just because the statuary on the Town Hall and the old Post Office are out of reach is no reason to ignore them - they were after all intended to be viewed from ground level. Bernard Reynolds' 'Pylons' in front of the former Civic College are still in place and will no doubt soon have a better setting. The pleasant little mural at Sainsbury's in Dogs Head Street has been damaged but its recognition might spur them to restore it. The carved tree trunk in Christchurch Park is one of three pieces, near together, so why ignore the other two?
Why also examples mostly limited to outdoors when others have good public access? After all, the ones in the parks have restricted access. It seems a shame to ignore Ceres in the Town Hall who is much more easily viewed than are the dancers at the hospital. And what about Christchurch Mansion? Does sculpture not count if it's in a museum? Some fairly 'Foundation Art Course' glass at the Crown Court is lauded but the fine windows in the old library are scorned.
Are war memorials too holy? Even if our cenotaph evokes too-recent memories, surely the Boer War memorial is acceptable as a work of art and it would of course be viewed with appropriate solemnity. Then there are the carved medieval corner-posts .... but enough, enough!
It is also a pity that pale yellow was used for one of the routes as it's almost invisible on the pages and a stronger colour could easily have been substituted.
My conclusion: a commendable effort but I look forward to the second edition.