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Wednesday, 15 March, 2000, 04:11 GMT
Trafalgar tree sculpture unveiled
Fourth plinth
Ready for its new sculpture - the empty fourth plinth
A sculpture of a tree resting on a head and a book is being unveiled in Trafalgar Square, the latest work to fill the empty fourth plinth.

The bronze work, called Regardless of History, weighs 11 tonnes and is seven metres high. It has taken the sculptor, Bill Woodrow, nearly two years to complete.

The fourth plinth is on the north side of Trafalgar Square in front of the National Gallery.

It had lain bare since the square was first laid out in 1841, until last year when the current series of temporary displays began.

The first statue was a figure of Christ, Ecce Homo, by Mark Wallinger.

The three other corners of the square boast equestrian statues of historical figures, including King George IV.

Christ statue
A figure of Christ launched the displays
In 1995 the Royal Society of Arts was given permission by Westminster City Council to fill the plinth.

But finding a suitable subject for the remaining corner did not prove easy.

When the public were asked, their suggestions ranged from a statue of the Queen Mother with her horse Red Rum, to former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher or the late Princess Diana.

Other suggestions included Nelson Mandela, Charles Dickens, Winnie the Pooh, The Beatles and a giant pigeon.

The Arts Minister, Alan Howarth, is expected to attend the opening ceremony for the sculpture.
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