The Silent Song of the Shell

1983

Allington, Edward

Edward Allington was fascinated by the presence of classical forms in everyday life, such as fragments of artefacts displayed in museums or kitsch reproductions of antiques. His work is full of references to now discredited forms and styles, from baroque and rococo architectural ornaments to identically cast Greek and Egyptian statues. He said: ‘Sculpture is looking at real things by making real things. It is making poetry with solid objects’.

The Silent Song of the Shell, 1983 is part of a body of work made by the artist using found objects, which aimed to examine beauty through opulent imagery. They are known as his ‘cornucopias’, after a classical symbol of abundance and nourishment: the horn of plenty. In Allington’s works, pristine plastic fruit cascades from ornate golden shells; the juxtaposition of mass-produced objects with gilded forms suggests a response to the dominance of minimalist art in previous decades.

  • Artwork Details: 140 x 100 x 100cm
  • Edition:
  • Material description: Plaster, paint, steel and plastic
  • Credit line: © the Estate of Edward Allington. Gift of the Estate of Edward Allington, 2019. Image courtesy of Thalia Allington-Wood
  • Theme: Undefined
  • Medium: Sculpture
  • Accession number: ACC25/2019

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The Arts Council Collection is the UK's most widely seen collection of modern and contemporary art.

With more than 8,000 works by over 2,000 artists, it can be seen in exhibitions and public displays across the country and beyond. This website offers unprecedented access to the Collection, and information about each work can be found on this site.