Posted 19th November 2010
Watts Contemporary Gallery
It is a huge relief to me to see Tennyson and Physical Energy safely back in the Sculpture Gallery. Oxford Exhibition Services were remarkably skilled and patient in returning them to their rightful place. There were a couple of moments when everyone was silent; After Tennyson was carefully lowered backwards he cleared the beam only by a whisper. So careful was the move that the cobweb that joined the great poet's nose and hand was still in tact. He will be conserved and cleaned in December. The greatest moment for me was to see Physical Energy roll on his railway tracks again, the first time for over half a century. It looks very likely that on fine days he will be able to be wheeled out again into the garden passing under Watts's great studio doors from his home in Kensington, just as they did when the artist first created it. The sheer physical effort of moving the works made me consider with some awe the fact that Watts was in his 80s when he worked on these monumental sculptures, quite some feat.