Lost Chopin sculpture reinstated

Abstract bronze unveiled in London – for the second time


A bronze statue of the Polish composer has been relocated after it vanished from the storage vaults of the Royal Festival Hall in the 1970s.


Weighing in at two tonnes, you might think this sculpture of Chopin would be hard to misplace. But that is exactly what happened after it was put into storage 25 years ago during renovation work at the Southbank Centre, London.

The work by Bronislaw Kubica is being unveiled by the Duke of Gloucester, whose mother unveiled the statue the first time round in 1975. It was presented to Britain as a gift from the Polish people following the Second World War and stood outside the Royal Festival Hall for around ten years before it disappeared from the Hall’s vaults.

Speaking to The Times, chairman of the Polish Heritage Society, Dr Marek Stella-Sawicki, said: ‘There were many of us looking for it, including the Polish Embassy, Lady Cholmondeley from the Chopin Society, a consultant for English Heritage.’ The piece was eventually found lying face-down in storage space under Waterloo Bridge.

To mark the occasion Alexander Ardakov will be giving a recital of some of Chopin’s piano music in the Purcell Room at the Sounthbank Centre on 18 May.


Elizabeth Davis