Gilt of Cain

In London and with some time to myself so I went off in search of a sculpture I had long wanted to track down.  ‘The Gilt of Cain’ was unveiled in 2008 to commemorate the abolition of the slave trade.  The site is significant: Fen Court in the City of London is the site of a church which had strong connections with the abolitionist movement in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The Rev John Newton, the slave trader who became a vicar and ardent abolitionist, served as the Rector of St.Mary Woolnorth which stood on this site.

The sculptor Michael Visocchi worked with the poet Lemn Sissay to create a sculpture made up of columns and a podium.  The columns represent sugar cane and the podium could be taken for a pulpit or a slave auction block.  The work is grey granite with carved words taken from the Lemn Sissay poem ‘Gilt of Cain’.

It was a wet and gloomy Sunday morning when I went looking for it.  Once there, I discovered that there was a building site next to it and a blue fence had been erected right up against the work of art.

Never mind the rain, as it was a Sunday in the City of London, I had the sculpture to myself and was undisturbed.


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