Power and drama has been injected back into Goodwood Racecourse with the awe-inspiring new sculpture from Nic Fiddian Green.
The beautiful sculpture, which dominates the grandstand and depicts the head and neck of a horse turning, greets race-goers from five different directions as they move through the members’ enclosure from the parade ring to the Richmond stand.
In contrast to the graceful and poised Artemis or I look beyond for a distant land which occupied the Trundle, the racecourse and the front of the estate house in 2010, the new 27ft-high piece has a more vibrant and energetic quality, and is warmly welcomed by Goodwood.
Nic Fiddian Green (pictured) has aptly named the sculpture Fire, and he describes his reasons why: “It is the exact opposite to a horse at water, not gentle and sublime but the horse has elements of what happens when a horse meets fire. It feels alive, with poised energetic movement. Not panic, but a definite strong reaction – and that is what I wanted to capture.”
Since his last work at Goodwood, Nic has been working in Italy, enthralled by the landscape and horses at Castello di Reschio, a private estate in Umbria after a chance meeting with owner Conte Antonio Bolza. This new piece is modelled on one of the Conte’s horses, Punto, a six-year-old stallion.
Nic gained inspiration from the movement of these Spanish riding horses, which are trained in dressage.
Admirers of Nic’s work feel his character can be seen in his sculptures, and although he can’t see it himself, his wife Henrietta said: “There is something very spiritual about the horses, and I can always catch a glimpse of Nic’s soul through the horses’ eyes.”
Fire was created with the site of Goodwood in mind. Nic said: “It is quite site-specific. I feel that horses are quite symbolic of the area, whether or not you like horses or know all that much about them.
“We want to give struggling racecourses a lift, and get people excited about this important British sport, and I think the horses can do just that.”
Four of his sculptures have also been installed at Ascot this summer.
The sculpture, in place in time for Glorious Goodwood, weighs around four tonnes and is made from bronze – which Nick enjoys using because ‘it is such a powerful ancient medium with an everlasting colour’.
Even as Fire was lifted into place, Nic made changes to the beautiful head, scraping the bronze on the horse’s mane so it caught the light.
“I don’t feel like it’s actually finished, I never really do – I just want to get them right.”