Tuesday 22 May 2012

Caltex House, Brompton Road SW1

Triga is a trio of racehorses made in 1957 by the Czech-born sculptor Frantisek ('Franta') Belsky. They spring out of the corner of the podium of Caltex House in the Brompton Road, commemorating the site's former use as Tattersall's auction yard.
Belsky was born in Brno in 1921 and grew up in Prague, but his family fled to London when the Nazis took over. He studied under Gilbert Ledward at the RCA at intervals dictated by service in the exiled Czech army including the D-day landings.
After the war he returned to Prague but had to leave again when the Communists seized power in 1948. Thereafter he forged a career in London, specialising in commissions for sculpture in specific locations. "I find nothing more enjoyable - and testing - than designing for a specific site and letting the locality, its use and the life in it, condition my sculptural decisions," he wrote. He also executed portraits of many members of the Royal family and statesmen including Churchill.
Triga is made rather unexpectedly of reinforced concrete coated in some sort of metallic plastic. As with all Belsky's sculptures, it contains an empty Guinness bottle, the day's newspaper, a sixpence and a note stating that he was the artist.

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