Public memorial to celebrate Shelley set to be commissioned for Horsham

Published: 16 Dec 2022

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Plans for a permanent, public memorial to Horsham’s Romantic and radical poet Percy Bysshe Shelley are moving a step forward with the development of an artist's brief and selection process for the artist who will be commissioned to produce the final public artwork.

It is proposed that the memorial will be situated in the centre of Horsham Park, near the pond.

The brief has been released by the Shelley Memorial Project, a community group based in Horsham, the town most associated with Shelley’s birth and early life. The project's key objective is to celebrate and commemorate the life and work of Horsham's most famous citizen and his connection with the historical, market town in West Sussex.

The Shelley Memorial Project recently celebrated Shelley's bicentenary year with their Shelley 200 Festival (Horsham) which engaged Shelley fans and arts enthusiasts in a series of live performances of poetry, music and the spoken word. The success of the festival has enabled the group to raise the funds needed to take the first steps in the commissioning process for the public artwork.

David Hide, Chair of the Shelley Memorial Project, said:

We are delighted with the success of our festival and are very pleased to have contributed to an international celebration of the life and work of our great poet in this important anniversary year.

The extent of the celebration, with events taking place across the globe, highlights just how significant a figure Shelley is and how relevant his work is to our modern times.

Our aim is to commemorate Shelley's great art by means of a great public artwork which we want to be a source of pride and inspiration to the Horsham community and a source of interest and enjoyment to visitors to the town. The Memorial will also celebrate Horsham's place in our national cultural heritage.

The Shelley Memorial Project has secured the support of Horsham District Council which has agreed to the installation of the memorial at the centre of Horsham Park. The Council has also ring-fenced funding to support the project.

Horsham District Council Cabinet Member for Leisure and Culture Cllr Roger Noel commented:

As a council we are really excited to be supporting the creation of a bespoke memorial to celebrate the life and works of Shelley, one of our most significant Romantic poets, who is world renowned and such a significant figure in our District.

At the bicentenary of his untimely death, it is very appropriate that we honour his achievements in poetry.

We are also really pleased that any shortlisted designs will go forward into a public consultation allowing everyone in our community to have their say on the final look of the memorial.

Please do get involved and share your views to help shape the final sculpture.

The Council’s Cabinet Member for Horsham Town Cllr Christian Mitchell added:

We are all very proud of Shelley and his associations with our District.

To have a dedicated memorial to Shelley in the town centre of Horsham will be very special and a unique tribute to the figure, and for it to be situated in our iconic Horsham Park will ensure it will be enjoyed by many.

The deadline for artists to submit of expressions of interest in response to the brief is 31 January 2023, after which date, four candidates will be chosen to proceed to the next stage of the selection process. Details of the brief can be found on the Shelley Memorial Project website or by contacting .

The Shelley Memorial project have set a fundraising target of £100,000 for the completion and installation of the artwork. They have so far achieved donations and pledges for 20 percent of the figure. They are keen to hear from those interested in supporting their campaign to raise the balance. To contact them about supporting the project please email: .

Shelley's family had strong connections with Horsham and he spent the earliest and happiest years of his life in this beautiful part of Sussex. He took inspiration for many of his poems from the countryside around him and it was here that he began to develop the ideas that formed the themes of his writing. The public memorial is intended to be a focus for commemoration of the internationally renowned poet.

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