Chichester sculpture of poet Keats planned

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A LIFE-size bronze sculpture of the poet Keats could replace a bench in Eastgate, Chichester.

The design, by Chichester artist Vincent Gray, portrays the poet, who stayed in St Agnes Place in 1817, sitting on a bench and looking west towards the market cross.

While staying in Chichester, Keats began to write On the Eve of St Agnes – a poem about a couple driven apart by their families.

If the proposals are approved by Chichester District Council, the sculpture would replace one of the benches outside Carluccio’s.

Vincent Gray has taught, exhibited and displayed his work around the area. Among his work is the bust of Sir Patrick Moore outside the South Downs Planetarium and a statue of Leonard Bernstein at St Richard’s Hospital.

“It is going to be publicly funded which is important to me,” said Mr Gray.

“I want public approval and it has to be wanted by everyone.”

Mr Gray said if planning permission is granted, he will exhibit the maquette.

“Chichester is pretty short of sculpture. I have lived here and been associated with Chichester for 30 years. I am passionate about sculpture.” He said the sculpture could become a tourist attraction.