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'Wild Boar'

This three-minute audio clip describes the sculpture Wild Boar by Elisabeth Frink (1930–1993).

Wild Boar

Wild Boar (1957) 1961

Elisabeth Frink (1930–1993)

Peterborough Museum & Art Gallery

Full audio description text

This larger-than-life sculpture is of an imposing wild boar. It stands on the gallery floor at Peterborough Museum & Art Gallery, on an inch-high plinth which forms part of the sculpture. The top of the boar is at waist height. The work is cast in bronze, which is dark brown almost black in colour. It was created by Dame Elizabeth Frink in around 1957.

The artwork is a stylised representation of a boar. The shape of its body is angular, with its large head tapering in a long, prominent snout. The legs are exaggerated in length, and slim, almost spindly, from the plinth up to the body. The hind legs slant backwards, with hooves further forward than haunches, giving the suggestion of impending movement. The surface of the sculpture is irregularly textured where the artist has built up layers of plaster over a wire armature, prior to casting in bronze. There are rough pockets and indents, as may appear in a real wild boar's coat. In contrast, the boar's snout has become smooth where people have stroked it over many years. As a result, it is also noticeably lighter in colour than the rest of the body, quite golden at the tip.

Elisabeth Frink was a British sculptor and printmaker. She had a passion for nature and her work reflected this. Boars were a recurring theme, perhaps inspired by her time living in southern France where they roam wild. This sculpture is one of a series of four casts commissioned for Harlow New Town in around 1957. One of the boars still stands in the water gardens in Harlow today. Frink's original intention would have been that they were displayed outdoors. In 1967 a further series of seven boars were commissioned by the Zoological Society of London.

The boar was part of a collection of artwork bequeathed to Peterborough Museum & Art Gallery by Tom Ealand and Dick Warwick. They were local art collectors who knew many significant British artists from the 1950s to 1970s, including Frink, who they frequently spent time with.

Visitors today are drawn to the recognisable figure of the boar, though it is often mistaken for a pig. It appeals to all ages and is one of the best-loved sculptures at the museum.

Art UK and VocalEyes

This audio description was created by VocalEyes for Art UK Sculpture, a national project to document and increase access to the UK's publicly owned sculpture. This description is one of 25 representing sculpture collections across the UK.

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