Maggi Hambling has suffered a setback on Aldeburgh beach. 'The Scallop', which since November 2003 has graced, or - as the local Council would say - contaminated Aldeburgh's shingly foreshore, has not run foul of any EU Health and Safety stipulations, being made of 10mm thick stainless steel. Some would say it is a thing of beauty. What would Aldeburgh's famous composer the late Benjamin Britten think? He would probably agree, and make 'Scallop' the subject of a stirring, contemplative composition.
But the good citizens of Aldeburgh are not stirred, and stay concerned that it will attract vandals, which strangely enough it already has. Capable of withstanding 100 mile an hour gales, the Aldeburgh Gazette editor has suggested that with the pressures of a northerly gale and a surge tide, it would topple over. This seems unlikely, given the 5 tons of shingle laid over the foundations and between these and the work itself. But others, including many living nearby in and around Saxmundham strongly support it remaining on site. Hambling has a winning card, however. As a native of Suffolk, she understands its many moods. 'Have another look', urges Suffolk's most famous contemporary living artist.
The late painter, Arthur Boyd, who settled on the Suffolk coast to be championed by Peter Fuller in the 1980s would probably admire the piece. Fuller would remind us of Holman Hunt's famous painting, 'The Scapegoat'.