Saturday, 21 December 2013

Columbia Courtyard, Canary Wharf E14

We tend to think of the statue of Ozymandias as just the legs, but Shelley mentions his face too:
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Centurione I by Polish sculptor Igor Mitoraj could just be that shattered visage, though he doesn't have a sneer of cold command, more an expression of slight regret.
Researching this, I discovered to my delight that Shelley's famous sonnet was the outcome of a sonnet-writing contest with his friend, a novelist, parodist, poet and stockbrocker called Horace Smith. Smith's sonnet concludes with a very pertinent warning, considering the current surroundings of Centurione I:
We wonder,—and some Hunter may express
Wonder like ours, when thro' the wilderness
Where London stood, holding the Wolf in chace,
He meets some fragment huge, and stops to guess
What powerful but unrecorded race
Once dwelt in that annihilated place.

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