Above: The very realistic figure of a wolf beside the roadway at Denmark Hill.
Yes, ‘Wolf on the Hill’ is correct and not ‘Fox on the Hill’ !
Those of you who know Camberwell will probably be familiar with the large Wetherspoon pub called ‘Fox on the Hill’. That name derives from its location on Denmark Hill being labelled on John Rocque’s map of 1746 as ‘Fox under Hill’. Of course, we don’t know why the mapmaker wrote that name on his map.
Above: A small part of John Rocque’s map of 1746 with the oval-shaped hill marked ‘Fox under Hill’ just south the the village of Camberwell.
This preamble leads into describing a relatively new piece of public art which is only a few hundred yards from the ‘Fox on the Hill’ pub – at the junction of Champion Park and Grove Lane. At that T-junction, which is also a short distance from Denmark Hill Station, there are small pieces of grass. Three pieces of metalwork, by the contemporary metal sculptor Leigh Dyer, dated 2009, now grace the junction and are greatly loved by the locals and those who pass by on the busy bus route.
Above: The figure of the ram and the sheep with her lamb.
The work is actually called ‘Run’. It is related to a particularly realistic and menacing wolf. His head is down, obviously stalking his intended victim. Within his sights is a very large ram, with beautifully crafted curled horns who looks like he can well take care of himself. Just nearby is a much more tender scene of a sheep with her suckling lamb – more than likely the object of the wolf’s desire.
Above: View from the top end of Grove Lane looking south, with the bus route part of Grove Lane seen behind the figures.
Leigh Dyer’s workshop is in Old Town, Hastings, in West Sussex. He has made several figures on a variety of subjects but, as far as I can make out, this is his first work to be placed on public display in London. Each of the figures is life-size but, being a busy road, if you are not looking out for them they are easy to miss.
What everyone mentions, when they describe the figures is firstly the high degree of detail that has gone into the metalwork and secondly how life-like the figures are.