Top British Sculptor installs his latest piece at The Montpellier Chapter

Top British Sculptor installs his latest piece at The Montpellier Chapter
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The Montpellier Chapter in Cheltenham welcomes the arrival of its most colourful piece of artwork yet. ‘Poppy’ by Peter Fillingham, was erected at the hotel on Wednesday 15 January. It is constructed from over 1.7 tonnes of material, including Forest of Dean sandstone that is over 308 million years old.

Hotel General Manager Barry Watson said: “‘Poppy’ provides an unquestionable splash of colour to the surrounding regency area and will really draw the attention of passers by. Aptly named, the piece coincidentally ties in with the upcoming centenary of WWI, ‘Poppy’ is a definite focal point of our hotel grounds and can be enjoyed by both guests of the hotel and passing pedestrians alike.”

2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War. Artist Peter Fillingham said he was delighted that the ‘Poppy’ should be unveiled to align with the centenary year celebrations.

Peter said: “The title ‘Poppy’ is a homage to primarily the plant itself but also for me as a homage to the famous garden of Jarman of Dungerness in Kent – the legendary film director, artist and author. The Poppy is also known obviously as the commemorative flower and symbol of the British Legion. It is fitting that in this year of 2014, we will humbly commemorate both the centenary of the First World War, as well as the 20th anniversary of the death of Derek Jarman.”

When The Montpellier Chapter’s gained planning permission prior to its multi-million pound refurbishment, strict Section 106 conditions were applied.  One element of the Section 106 agreement was to allow the hotel to be used as a location for art to be displayed. This piece aligns with this agreement and will be a welcome addition to the already plentiful collection of works.

‘Poppy’ stands in the hotel’s planted garden and takes shape as one enlarged cube of striking, vibrant colours. It sits on a crystal white sandstone base, twisted to become a diamond form. The sandstone used complements the regency architecture of the area, while the bold colours draw together the coloured glass of the hotel conservatory, which overlooks the sculpture.  

Former Head of sculpture at Central Saint Martins, Peter Fillingham, studied at the Royal College of Art and then in Paris under Christian Boltanski. Today, Peter’s work centres on practice and private commissions. He takes an anthropological approach to his commissions for public spaces and creates site-specific works whose scale and form are sympathetic with where they are placed.

The art collection at The Montpellier Chapter is a key component to the hotel’s character. Curated by Central Saint Martins, the existing collection takes a number of forms from oil paintings, to bronze sculpture and photographic work.