Jon England’s centrepiece for ‘Somerset Remembers’ combines two visible symbols of remembrance; the poppy and war memorials. The artist’s work, part of a series entitled ‘Seeds to the Wind’, explores both the visual form and written language of these monuments, while harnessing the symbolic power of the poppy – the number of seeds emblematic of the scale of loss.
The four words Duty, Honour, Freedom, Sacrifice, repeated on memorials across Somerset and beyond convey how the language of fighting and winning a war continued into memoriam. Presented in this new context these words encourage the viewer to reconsider the status, place and function of memorials and the broader social dynamic explored by ‘Somerset Remembers’.
Duty, Freedom, Honour Photographs courtesy of Jon England
The Somerton memorial, a Portland stone carving of a Royal Artilleryman, epitomises the dedication of communities in remembering their friends, family and brothers in arms as well as representing artistic quality. It was commissioned from G Cox & Son Monumental Sculptors of Keinton Mandeville and unveiled on 21st May 1921.
The design of the Somerton memorial, ‘was one of several issued by the War Office for communities wishing to make suitable and accurate memorials to their dead’ leading the artist to question what true freedom existed either in fighting or commemorating the war.