ART / Picture Choice: A physical relationship: Actor Donald Sinden on the power of G F Watts' Physical Energy in Kensington Gardens

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The Independent Culture
I am colour-blind and because of this defect I have an advanced sense of form and have homed in on sculpture. I am very fond of the sculptors of the Regency period - Flaxman, Canova and Thorvaldsen - but I also admire the work of G F Watts. Apart from being the first husband of Ellen Terry, he was also an astonishing sculptor. In 1870 he produced this piece, Physical Energy, now in Kensington Gardens. I am very fond of it. As a boy I used to come up to London from Sussex and was particularly taken by this work. You don't have to know about art to enjoy it. It is a remarkable sculpture, a forerunner of the totalitarian sculpture of pre-war Russia and Germany. You would think it dates from the 1930s rather than 1870. You have a nude male on a great prancing horse whose hind legs, bizarrely, resemble those of the horse in the statue of Earl Haig in Whitehall. It has a feeling of sheer power. I certainly wouldn't want to be attacked by that.

Donald Sinden is currently appearing in 'Venus Observed' at Chichester Festival Theatre.

(Photograph omitted)

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