Tutankhamun row as wealthy residents brand Saatchi Gallery statue an ‘eyesore’

Wealthy residents have become embroiled in a row with the Saatchi Gallery over plans to erect a giant statue of Tutankhamun to drive more tourists to the landmark.

Millionaire homeowners in Chelsea, west London, have criticised an application to site a 25ft-high bronze depicting the Egyptian pharaoh. 

Click Here: liverpool mens jersey

IMG UK, acting on behalf of the gallery, submitted an application for the statue as part of the ongoing exhibition Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh. 

Last month, the exhibition was dubbed the most expensive in Britain with visitors charged up to £37.50 to gain entry.

Under the proposals, which were approved by Kensington and Chelsea Council, the towering statue will be constructed using steel tubing covered with a metal structure forming the shape of Tutankhamun and will grace the entrance to the gallery in Duke of York Square, Chelsea for six weeks from January 2020. 

Initially, the gallery had planned to install the statue for the entire six months of the exhibition, but later shortened the period to six weeks in a bid to ease residents’ concerns.

Saatchi Gallery bosses claim that the exhibition and statue would be a "major tourist and domestic visitor draw" with more than 150 pieces from Tutankhamun’s tomb on display until May 2020 before they are set to return to Egypt forever. 

But one local resident claimed that the museum had not bothered to consult with residents and stressed that it could impact the gallery building, which is listed. 

In documents submitted to Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council (RBKC), they said: "I hereby object against the gigantic structure which is planned to be erected in close proximity to the beautiful grade ll listed building.

"I have not received any notification of the said planning application and I would like an explanation as I live in very close proximity to the gallery."

Another neighbour added: "It’s size is out of proportion and will be an eyesore."

Graham Huntley, chairman of The Duke of York and Royal Hospital Area Residents Interest Group also contacted the council to raise concerns.

IMG UK, who have lodged the plans, said: "The statue will not be attached in any way to a listed building or structure and the fabric of the listed buildings on or near the site will not be alerted in any way.   

"The statue will be free-standing but will have 4 anchor points for the synthetic rope ties that will brace the statue against short term wind loads. 

"By virtue of its temporary nature the statue will preserve the special interest and the setting of the listed buildings and the conservation area."

It comes just weeks after gallery bosses had previously been criticized for charging people £37.50 for its highly publicised show, making it Britain’s most expensive exhibition.

Sharon Heal from the Museum Association, which backed the campaign to scrap admission charges to London’s museums, said she “strongly recommends” that the gallery make more affordable tickets available. 

Tutankhamun, whose name means “living image of the Aten”, ascended to the throne when he was just nine years old in 1334 BC.

He married his own half sister Ankhesenamun and they had two daughters, who died at birth.

The Pharaoh, died at the age of 18 and he was buried in the Valley of the Kings. 

Little was known of how he lived until his tomb was discovered in November 1922 by Egyptologist Howard Carter. 

Despite residents concerns, Sue Foster, director of planning and place at RBKC, ruled in favour of the plans and said: "By being oversized, the statue would bring an element of fun and individuality that would increase public interest on the exhibition. 

"The proposed guardian statue would follow the design of those found within the tomb of Tutankhamun, albeit on a colossal scale."

The Saatchi Gallery did not respond to requests for comment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *