sea shell sculpture and more from Suffolk

I went to Suffolk (Aldeburgh) for the weekend and was charmed by the little seaside town on the East Suffolk coast. One of the highlights for me, was seeing Maggi Hambling‘s sculpture on the beach, called Scallop. Created in 2003 the 4 metre high sculpture made of steel, caused some controversy according to local residents and still does. From my point of view, Scallop is an example of a piece of public art that ticks all the boxes. The sculpture is beautiful, achieving an imposing and majestic figure against the seascape. It also has a fun and playful side, as it’s shape encourages children and indeed those of any age to clamber all over and sit on it, like I did!

the curious curator sits on Maggi Hambling’s Scallop sculpture on the beach at Aldeburgh, Suffolk

Carved into the material, are the words ‘I hear those voices that will not be drowned’, from Benjamin Britten’s opera Peter Grimes. Britten lived and worked in Aldeburgh and he founded the Aldeburgh Music Festival. I have seen a performance of Peter Grimes at the Royal Opera House, London which I felt was a hauntingly memorable and turbulent work. The words are legible only when standing behind the sculpture, looking out onto the sea.

Maggi Hambling’s Scallop sculpture, showing the words ‘I hear those voices that will not be drowned’ from Benjamin Britten’s opera Peter Grimes

The Moot Hall, Aldeburgh

I was also interested to discover the Moot Hall in Aldeburgh, also situated right by the sea. The Moot Hall was Aldeburgh’s town hall, built during the first half of the 16th Century and it is one of the most important timber-framed public buildings in England. Originally the Moot Hall contained six small shops on the ground floor and a meeting chamber on the first floor.

The Moot Hall, Aldeburgh

I enjoyed spotting this chest (below) which dates from 1400 and was found washed up on the beach at Aldeburgh. Of course my imagination thought at once of smugglers!

a chest from 1400 found washed up on the beach at Aldeburgh

I also admired the art nouveau style decoration on this commemorative plaque board which was made in honour of those connected to Aldeburgh who fell during the First World War

a detail of the decoration on the commemorative WW1 plaque in the Moot Hall, Aldeburgh

Finally, I climbed the Town Steps to find the Town Pump!

the Town Pump at Aldeburgh


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