In a classic case of art imitating life, the wire sculpture osprey CJ7 at Lighthouse Poole has a mate!
Just like her real world counterpart in the Birds of Poole Harbour’s Osprey Translocation Project, the wire CJ7 now shares her foyer perch with a remarkably well proportioned wire sculpture of male osprey O22.
Lighthouse commissioned the new piece from Suffolk-based WildWire artist Paul Green, who made the original in 2020, and took time out from his holiday to deliver the artwork in person after enjoying a Birds of Poole Harbour osprey cruise.
“I can’t thank Lighthouse enough,” said Paul. “This is one of the most pleasing and rewarding projects I’ve been involved in. To be honest, because I only had photos and a note of the measurements to work from, I was worried about the pieces making a believable pair, but now they’re together I couldn’t be happier with how they look.”
The success of the Osprey Translocation Project to establish a breeding population of the iconic birds of prey in Poole for the first time in 200 years has been followed avidly by a huge online audience. During the first Covid lockdown in 2020 more than a million viewers tuned in to see CJ7 wait in vain for the return of her mate – a vigil that resonated with many people and prompted Lighthouse to commission the sculpture as an emblem of hope in Poole.
“I was one of the thousands of local people for whom CJ7 became a symbol of hope in the darkest days of the lockdown – we were forced to live our lives remotely and somehow her story became our story,” explains Lighthouse Chief Executive Elspeth McBain.
“Lighthouse was enormously grateful to receive emergency funding from Arts Council England that was awarded in part to provide work for artists who had lost their income in lockdown. It seemed obvious that Lighthouse should commission Paul to make a sculpture and I promised him that when CJ7 got a mate we would commission a second sculpture and now here he is – he’s absolutely brilliant.”
As in life, the male bird O22 is slightly smaller than CJ7, and will now sit alongside his mate in foyer at Lighthouse.
Photo: Artist Paul Green and Lighthouse CEO Elspeth McBain with the osprey sculptures in wire.