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The Sheep & Shepherd

It is suggested that Frink’s sculpture is inspired by the mountainous region of Cervennes (France).

Elisabeth Frink (1930–1993) 

1975, bronze on Portland stone plinth 

Originally unveiled by Yehudi Menhuin in 1975, Frink’s sculpture stood at the centre of the north side of Paternoster Square until 1997 when it was moved to the Bastion High Walk (outside of the Museum of London) in advance of demolition work for the new development we see today. The work was reinstated to its present position in 2003.

It is suggested that the sculpture was inspired by Frink’s stay in the mountainous region of Cervennes (France) where sheep and shepherds are a part of the everyday landscape, and by her admiration for Picasso’s 1944 bronze, Man with Sheep. The subject chosen may also have derived from a wilful confusion on Frink’s part between the pater of Paternoster (Our Father) and pastor (shepherd). 

Whatever the case, it is probable that Frink was not entirely free to choose and that influence was brought to bear, given the sculpture’s close proximity to St Paul’s. The evidence for this comes, not only from the religious connotations of the piece, but from the ‘androgynous’ looking shepherd and his flock – a characteristic not typical of Frink who was known for her well-endowed subjects.

Originally commissioned by Paternoster Development Ltd; reinstated by Mitsubishi Estate Company in 2003. 

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