Mark Wallinger's white horse will soon grace the skyline in north Kent
The proposed giant white horse, designed by Turner Prize winner Mark Wallinger, will stand on a hill near Ebbsfleet International station.
The £2 million horse will measure up to 164ft in height, and will be the biggest public work of art in the UK.
It will be more than twice the size of Antony Gormley's Angel Of The North in Gateshead, and roughly the same height as Nelson's Column.
The sculpture will be visible from the A2 and from Eurostar trains.
The Ebbsfleet project is the UK's biggest and most significant public art commission since Gormley's most famous work was unveiled in 1998, so it's no surprise it's been dubbed Angel Of The South ever since the idea was announced in 2007, although Gormley was never one of the shortlisted artists.
The statue was commissioned to help symbolise regeneration around Ebbsfleet. As well as the station, around 10,000 new homes, offices and shops are planned for the area over the next 20 years.
Kent County Council launched a campaign to persuade Wallinger to submit a rearing Invicta horse instead, to reflect the county's symbol, even though the council confirmed that they have no financial involvement with the project.
The horse was given planning permission by Gravesham Borough Council on 14 April 2010.
About the artist
Mark Wallinger won the Turner prize in 2007 for State Britain, a recreation of the banners and paraphernalia of Brian Haw's Parliament Square protest against UK military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.
He is no stranger to Kent, and created a permanent piece of work on The Leas at Folkestone as part of the Triennial sculpture expo in 2008.
What do you think of the statue? Is it a fitting symbol for the county?
The Ebbsfleet horse is essentially a child's model on a giant scale and therefore without artistic merit, more likely to attract an abundance of birds mess than admiring crowds. Clearly the proposed Invicta horse is merely another naff attempt in a competing statement, please remind me of what exactly? Personally if its built in Dover's town i can live with it but why further vandalise our beautiful country side, as has already happended in Folkestone with the mertiless logo concreted into what was a beautiful hillside. Certainly similar schemes would not be considered in the Yorkshire Moors for example and yet with our gentile panoramas where the beauty is fragile and in the close detail we feel compelled to ruin what nature has uniquely provided to our area, with Kent fast becoming the patio rather than remaining the garden of England.
We the kent gypsys love it we have horses in north kent and the wite horse show importance and bravery and prosperty we love it
Mark Butler, Gravesend
This horse is such a missed opportunity. I have seen the wonderful inverted parabola at St Louis (USA) and also the elegant group of arches in the Victoria Gardens, Chatham. I think a parabola group could have made a wonderful "gateway" to England. Also they could have had wonderful internal lighting which could have been powered by constructing it with solar panels - even if there were no internal lift system like at St Louis. It would have been cheaper (I suspect) futuristic, dramatic and beautiful. The horse is just an outsize horse.
Marylin , Gillingham, Kent
I am going to have to drive past this monstrosity every day, there were many more pleasing ideas put forward but as usual the council has not taken the residents views into consideration. This ugly beast will become a source of ridicule and focus for local vandals before the project is even finished !
J Hunt, Swanscombe, Kent
My views are quite simple: we in Kent DONT WANT THIS! If you must have something use the invicta horse but this looks like it comes from a toy farmyeard. It will do nothing to improve the area - just make it more tacky than it already is.
AW, Kent, England
With all the chalk that was dug out for the rail link couldn't we have the hill built up and a proper white horse (Invicta)carving instead? Think of the existing white horses etc already around the country that look so attractive.
Grahame Denney, Dartford Kent
As a native of this county, I have to say that the creation of the white horse will be a source of great embarrassment. There is only one white horse of Kent: Invicta, Rampant. If it technically impossible to create the horse in this way, then don't do it at all!
Tom O'Connor, Tunbridge Wells
Totally not surprised this eyesore will be allowed to blight Gravesend/NW Kents landscape. Let us all who'll have to see this eyesore hope and pray that as much effort goes into its construction as its design/forethought. With any luck it will fall down or get damaged beyond repair when we next get some strong winds!!!
David Beattie, Gravesend, Kent
We find it rather disappointing that such an opportunity to promote Kent and Art and Design has been severely let down by a bunch of people who thought that Kent would love nothing more than horse to look at every morning on their way to work! - its ridiculous, we are both local designers who studied at local Art and Design University the UCA in Rochester, an opportunity like this would have been an amazing experience for anyone studying art disciplines but it wasn't even offered to us! Surely if the monument is to represent Kent then a fine example would be to use sources that KENT has to offer. There are many,many people out there with undiscovered talent,that wouldn't just dream up the idea of presenting a Horse and having the cheek to say it was 'designed' by an 'artist' - If i was this guy, i would be embarrassed,however the sad fact is,that the more you speak of the designer,and the more controversy they cause,the more they get the chance to 'shine' again! :(
Samuel Flaherty and Sefika Sakalli, Meopham
Another waste of Money, There are many other ways the sponsors could contribute to North Kent.
Alan Webster, Herne Bay
Alison Wilson, Sandwich
I remember being taken by my father in the 1950's to a site near by to see the stone celebrating the Kentish tribes meeting the Romans and offering peace to the Romans hence "Invicta" unconquered. This placing of a whisky advert horse in this position I find insulting to the people of Kent. Yet again showing officials planning something when they have no local knowledge and don't take the time to find out the locals (people born and bread in Kent's) views. If this horse were to be produced it would be more fitting to place it at Newmarket or any other horse centre where the style of horse would be more suitable.
Michael Roche, Maidstone
Could somebody please explain to us mere mortals what they see in this pile of junk? Almost without exception the posts to this site are against it.I would ask the question who gave it approval in the first place it was certainly not the locals. If somebody has a large sum of money to spare I am sure that the people of NW Kent could suggest a better use.
Roy Farrow, Rochester,Kent
I have yet to meet anyone who thinks this oversized monstrosity would in any way be a good idea. It is bland,too big,ugly,overpriced and does in no way represent Kent. The Angel of the North did at least show imagination. This horse looks like it was based on a free gift from a cereal box. Please let us have a symbol with taste
Michael Giles, Gravesend
This must not be allowed to happen, if there is to be a statue of a horse it must be the " Invicta Horse", & not the" Barbie " option.
Keith Meakins, Dartford ,
If the horse is set in place as suggested what an embarrassment to the people of Kent it would be! The White Horse Rampant, the symbol of Kent, is the only realistic and acceptable option.
John, Sittingbourne, Kent
This is an incredibly lazy and poor example of design by an artist, and planning on the part of local councils. In contrast to the wilder and more open countryside in the North of England, Kent is already becoming utterly overcrowded with so called 'innovative' building and planning projects which plan to 'regenerate' areas of Kent, but which seem to pay no heed to the needs or opinions of local people.How about using the `£2 million pounds, and consequent ridiculous amounts of money that will have to be spent on cleaning mould and bird poo off the thing to do something really useful for the people of Kent? Imagine that money going to fund local projects or charities.... Or to set up a beautiful open space for people to enjoy together.... Or to fund work projects for young, unemployed people....There are so many more exiting possibilities.
Heather Grabham, Faversham, Kent
I cannot believe they are going ahead with this. It looks terrible and I know of no one in the area that likes it. The money would be better spent landscaping the surrounding area, which is currently wasteland and very ugly.
Lis Bryan, Greenhithe, Kent
Whatever is built I will see across the fields from my home, I would prefer to see something different like the Invicta horse, as I can see the normal horses any time I like by just looking across the road in Southfleet. Build something to give the people of Kent proud of their county.
Peter Wanless, Southfleet
You say "The sculpture will be visible from the A2 and from Eurostar trains". The part of the A2 where you can view 'Champion the Wonder Horse' is already the A2 accident hotspot and the view from a train going at 140mph would be but a blur on the landscape. Has anybody asked if a white horse would offend anybody!
Garry Hodges, Gravesend UK
Why a white horse? It has about as much relevance as a carrot (that's more agricultural too!) Now if it was Invicta that would be different and we'd all welcome it!
Fran Gallwey, Sevenoaks, Kent
If we have to have a horse, let's have the one we should have "The Invicta Horse". I think a landmark should have the WOW factor, which is sadly missing in the proposed art work.
Carl Smith, Gravesend
Totally agree with Barbie look to the "horse". Why can't we have the Invicta horse? The symbol of Kent for many years. Why pay to reinvent the wheel or horse in this case?
Kent is known as the Garden of England, the Invicta horse is a well known symbol. The horse pictured will be an eyesore and says nothing about THE GARDEN OF ENGLAND. The thought of viewing this proposed eyesore almost daily I think I need blinkers.
Ms Lee Forder, Gravesend
It looks like a giant 'Airfix' kit. Depressingly stereotypical banal 'art' world nonsense, imposed on the many by the remote and arrogant few.
Dave Hendley, Whitstable
Why do the powers to be never listen to public opinion? Invicta horse YES Dobbin NO.
Michael Terry, Gravesend
This will make us the laughing stock of the UK. The horse is a wonderful animal and has always been associated with Kent but in a beautiful vibrant way on hind legs and full of life. Please re-think this design and opt for a horse with some life to it not this dreadful static depiction.
M Woollard, Longfield Kent
If Kent has to have a structure, then it should represent what the county has to offer. This is the garden of England. There are more fitting things to build than this monstrosity.
Em, Birchington Kent
Please, please, please DO NOT grant permission for this monstrosity. I live very close to this site and it would be a tragedy if this horse was built. It's already been dubbed "Dobbin of the Downs" - it's lifeless, it's banal rubbish and totally out of keeping. Once again, PLEASE DO NOT GRANT PERMISSION.
Teresa Jenns, England
Will I and the other residents of Swanscombe and Northfleet be receiving a reduction in our council tax - given that we'll have a glorious view of a giant horse's backside?
Nova, Swanscombe, Kent, UK
I think it great it will but a smile on many peoples faces in these miserable times and a great land mark. What about all the pylons making the countryside looking a mess.
Maria Cummins, Cuxton
I hope the planners have the sense not to grant permission for this ridiculous monstrosity. Let's not give visitors a reason to laugh at us before they've even arrived.
Kate B, Tonbridge, Kent
I work at an Age Concern Day Centre in Swanscombe which is very close to the proposed site of the horse. At present it is unlikely that the proposed development of all these homes etc will go ahead for a good few years. If the horse is installed now it will sit rather miserably amongst a large area of what looks like a wasteland. This area is not lit at night and I just imagine anyone driving along the surrounding roads, might wonder what they ate for brekfast thinking it is a hallucination!
Sue Wood, Dartford
Very passive looking horse. Definitely don't like the halter. The horse should give a sense of freedom and movement. Agree with others that it should be similar to the invicta horse, the symbol of Kent.
Lydia, Tonbridge, Kent
If we have to have a horse, why not the Kent Invicta white horse. It is far more fitting to represent Kent and also would look far more attractive. Personally, I think the one that has been chosen is 'pretty naff'. Let's have something more in keeping with the Garden of England.
Linda Golding, Ashford (Kent)
As someone who has lived here all my life, I will have to look at this monstrosity everyday when I go to work. The Invicta Horse would have been acceptable, as it is a symbol of Kent. This one has no meaning whatsoever.
Dee Richards, Swanscombe,Kent.England
I second 'Emma' in her sardonic comment that it serves "...just to show what an agricultural country we are". The proposed monument is indeed, as she says, 'fantastic' - which my thesaurus defines as 'absurd', 'bizarre' and 'grotesque'.
Michael Knight, as from Maidstone
What an absolute waste of money. Why do we need such a monstrosity on the hillside. Whose idea was it to choose the horse, Kent has an emblem of the Invicta horse so why not use that? Better still they should have chosen a completely different emblem like the 'E' that is on the roundabout off the A2260 junction.
Michelle Humble, Gravesend
Last year already I did vent my anger about this poor effort to display INVICTA - the SENSE of Invicta - with this giant, lifeless, dull horse. I know, I'm from Germany; however, I intend to move to Kent in the near future and as a future Kent citizen I'm not proud of the dicision of my county-council-to-be.
I'm all for large monuments, but this is just a massive unassuming horse standing in a field casting a big shadow over North Kent. Why does one need an artist for this? How about something more striking? The White Horse of Invicta on its hind legs would be a far better choice!
James, Derby (Formerly Canterbury)
Grand idea! If you look at other such landmarks, you -know- there's going to be an expansion of tourism jobs in the area. I do think they should make every effort to build the horse with local labor and materials.
It is simply a gigantic replica of a horse, It doesnt really have anything of a unique style. i do feel however that it will be a fantastic piece of work and if his small scale model is anything to go by a brilliant piece of engineering.
I personaly think that the horse was, and is a fantastic idea. I think it will be the new Effel Tower, just to show what an agricultural country we are!
I think the white horse is an insult to the people of Kent!It is ugly, grossly oversize, over priced, and if it's to be made of cement, presumably they will be rounding up flocks of seagulls to keep flying over it so it continues to stay white!!Seriously, who selected it?If we are to have a white horse, then let us have the proper invicta horse, rampant over the shield of Kent
What a golden opportunity to promote Kent and the South East missed here. This 'work' looks as though it has just been removed from a 'Barbie goes Horse Riding' plastic kit. Instead of the proud prancing Invicta Stallion demonstrating the vigorous and undefeated nature of our County we have been fobbed off with this utter banal rubbish - a symbol of the watered down country we have become.Surely there must be a Health and Safety rule against it.
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