Elizabeth Frink’s bronze statue of the Blind Beggar and His Dog was unveiled in 1957. The statue stands in gardens at Bethnal Green’s Cranbrook Estate, which was Berthold Lubetkin’s last major project before his retirement. The estate has undergone refurbishment within the last few years and has been changed in its look, although not its original layout. The estate is situated on the north side of Roman Road, to the east of Bonner Street.
The statue of the ‘Blind Beggar’ is in the middle of the residents’ gated garden but it can easily be seen from the pavement of Roman Road. It has been set high up on additional masonry within the garden beside a small ornamental water-fountain. The angle at which the two figures have been set could have been better chosen because they are not seen to full advantage from the pavement. While residents can walk around the statue, the general public can only see it from one angle.
Dame Elizabeth Frink (1930-93) was born in Suffolk. She studied art at the Guildford School of Art and the Chelsea School of Art. There is another work in London by Frink for which she is probably better known. It is the bronze and fibre-glass ‘Shepherd and Sheep’, unveiled in 1975, in Paternoster Square. It was commissioned for the original 1970s Paternoster Square complex and retained and repositioned in the redeveloped square in 2000. Another work by Frink to be seen in London is ‘Horse and Rider’, commissioned by the developers called Trafalgar House in 1974. It was for their site on Dover Street at the junction with Piccadilly. To say Elizabeth Frink is an important 20th-century sculptor is an understatement. Some of her other works can be seen in the Tate Gallery.