The Speaker

The Speaker ~ Bronze
Artist ~ Gareth Knowles

This life-size bronze sculpture was inspired by the historic tradition of public speaking at Custom House Square where crowds would gather to listen to the orators of the day.

The ground in front of the sculpture has bronze footprints to suggest the crowds that would gather to hear the outpouring of the speaker.

Gareth Knowles was born in Belfast and has been sculpting for the last 20 years. Another commission by the Grand Opera House, Belfast, was to create a bust of Frank Matcham, the venue’s architect.  I could tell you more but he puts his story so well on his website, I would hate to spoil it, so please follow the link.

16 thoughts on “The Speaker

  1. theoldfossil

    Grannymar, as I look at some of your earlier posts I note that there seems to be quite a bit of sculpture around you. Is this a long standing tradition of Ireland and are some of them quite old? Or, is this something developed more recently?

    In any case, there is something about fine sculpture that I find both beautiful and compelling in a manner quite different than a painting. Your pictures have shown some very fine and wide-ranging examples.

  2. Big John

    Reminds me of the happy days of my youth when I spent my lunch hours at Tower Hill listening to great speakers like Donald Soper and a few like Alf Garnett. 🙂

  3. Alice

    You’re right–he’s an interesting guy. Did pretty good in spite of dyslexia, didn’t he?! I like the detail of the shoeprints around the speaker. Art should surround us like the pieces you show. What we need is to learn how to “see” it, don’t you think.

  4. Grannymar Post author

    Old Fossil – We do have some old statuary in Ireland, North and South. It would be mostly of political figures or Royalty. Thankfully modern Sculptors are given recognition and space these days. Most of the local Borough Councils have a budget for Art and Sculpture.

    Big John – I am sure you have many tales to tell from those days.

    Mayo – I may have to travel a long journey to find the sculpture of Speaker Ramana.

  5. Grannymar Post author

    Alice – I liked Gareth Knowles back story.

    WWW – I was taken with the footprints too. I actually stood in them for a moment and listened, I could almost hear the speaker!

    Conrad – The short answer is NO!

  6. Helen

    Love these lifelike fellows. I remember years ago, Sundays in the Domain (park in the centre of Sydney) guys used to literally get on their soap boxes and wax lyrical about religion, politics anything and everything, it was quite the event. Nobody does it any more they just pitch tents in Martin place and ‘occupy’

  7. Grannymar Post author

    Helen – Same here and if you asked them why, they could string a sentence together, to tell you!

  8. Grannymar Post author

    Betty, I was fascinated with them, and it was a pity the ground was partially damp that day.

  9. Grannymar Post author

    Tilly – I almost didn’t take the photos of the footprints because the ground was damp in places and I didn’t think they would show up. From the reaction above, I am glad I did!

  10. Grannymar Post author

    Mike – I was alone at the time, otherwise I would have had a photo taken while standing on the prints!


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