A throne for the King of the May

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Made of local English oak, this wonderful sculpture – at twenty foot high – stood for a few years near Hamel Down on Dartmoor. At some point in 2010 it disappeared, taken down for flouting planning regulations… an act of madness, because it was inspired and inspiring, and mythic and magical.

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9 thoughts on “A throne for the King of the May

  1. Welcome back! This is also very enigmatic. I am speculating on the nature of the King of the May – although why not a Queen? It reminds me slightly of the Henry Moore King and Queen sculptures in the Galloway Country Park ( I think it is) in SW Scotland.

    • Thank you! I put King because I was thinking of King Canute in a half-formed way, the chair makes me think visually of that time, but I was also thinking of King Canute’s legend – parking his throne on the shore to demonstrate his power over the tides but the waves just washing over him, so I was thinking of humans in opposition to nature, constantly making their mark and eroding… like I said, not very formed so not bloggable, because the throne also seems so calm, working with nature, as if some manifestation has come out of the earth – so I was then thinking of the Green Man. Maybe the much better title is ‘A throne for Mother Earth’…

      Love the Henry Moore sculptures – just investigated.

  2. Great photos! Truly a throne fit for the King of the May – life-affirming and mystical, and inviting you to just stop and claim some time for yourself to have a “Wow!” moment, and really appreciate that beautiful vista opening up before it…

    It’s such a shame it was removed – a pity that all that imagination of the far horizon got reined in by rules.

    • I think Dartmoor takes photos with your camera, it’s all amazing round there. I think there was a facebook campaign to save the chair at some point, it was on the artist’s land, and there was some publicity in the papers. I did hear it might be moved someone else, which would be great, but it does belong there I think!

      • I love Dartmoor, my husband and I spent our honeymoon there (we rented a little thatched cottage near Drewsteignton). We didn’t have a car, so went everywhere on foot and got to know the immediate area like a couple of locals – the Teign Valley, the bluebell woods, the tors. In fact, it’s a lovely coincidence you posted Dartmoor pictures today, as it’s our 21st wedding anniversary! It’s funny to think it was that long ago that we were sitting up on Piddledown Common! (great name!) Seems like yesterday!

  3. This seems a typical example of how (planning) rules often don’t take into account the essence of the structure or consider cases individually. There are so many more human made structures you could find in the world which are totally insensitive to their surroundings, yet they are allowed to stay because they fulfill the right criteria & so the boxes can be ticked.
    With this chair & its negative spaces I see connections with the distant field patterns. It also makes me think of megaliths. Perhaps menhirs would not fulfill regulations if they were erected these days?!

    I’ve only visited Dartmoor once when I was14 & yet I still have vivid memories of the place – I suppose because it was totally outside of any other experience of landscape I’d had until that point.

    • Absolutely – everything about this chair seems naturally evolved and to belong, and yet our everyday street or town furniture is barely considered for these qualities.

      On another note, it sometimes feels that musicians, painters, writers, architects aren’t ‘allowed’ or ‘able’ to create in isolation from what’s currently valued without being pressured by the critical/judging establishment or peer group to conform to it – the art only ‘exists’ if there is a pre-explained theory/critical ticklist to go with it, otherwise it’s just ‘Oh dear, someone’s put a 20 foot chair in their back garden!’. Which brings it back to the menhirs…

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