Still Water, an outdoor bronze sculpture of a giant disembodied horse head captured as though the horse was drinking, was sculpted by British artist Nic Fiddian-Green and installed at Marble Arch in 2011. Amidst the bustle of London, the sculpture provides a quiet contrast, a moment of silence and contemplation just a few minutes from Oxford Street.
At 33 feet (10 m), Still Water is the largest free-standing bronze sculpture in London and has become one of London’s most loved landmarks. It is a larger, slightly different version, of an earlier work, Horse at Water XV, conceived in 2001 and installed at Marble Arch temporarily. This earlier piece was moved to the home of Sir Anthony and Lady Carole Bamford in Gloucestershire, who had commissioned it. It later sold for £75,000 in 2018.
Westminster City Council have made Still Water a permanent work of art for the city, on loan from the artist who cleaned the sculpture himself, using a cherry picker, in 2012.
Born in Ireland in 1963, Nic Fiddian-Green has been producing monumental bronze sculptures for 20 years and specialises is making lifelike models of horses’ heads, both smaller and larger than life-sized. He uses the horses at his studio in a stable block in Surrey as life models.
His passion for the equine head began in 1983 as a student at Chelsea College of Arts when he was sent on a visit to the British Museum to seek inspiration. He encountered the Elgin Marbles and was struck by the horse of Selene, a remarkably well preserved fifth-century BC carving, which would become the foundational inspiration throughout his career.
Fiddian Green later reflected that “capturing the skill, vitality, balance and beauty, so evident in these Greek carvings is my continued aim”. The artist works in clay, plaster, beaten lead and marble, and oversees the casting of the sculpture into bronze himself.