Public art has long been a rather weak point in Britain, when we compare ourselves with many of our Continental neighbours. We have often been too timid, too parsimonious, too protective of the status quo to countenance an interloper, even one that might delight the eye and enhance the landscape. So we welcome the commission awarded to Mark Wallinger for a giant horse sculpture in Kent.
The monumental beast, 33 times life-size, is intended to represent the regeneration of north-west Kent and will also greet those arriving on the Eurostar. Having some affinity both with the prancing horse which is the traditional symbol of Kent and the prehistoric hill figures that survive in southern England, the choice is felicitous. We might have favoured a horse that was a little less literal, something with a tad more individual style. Once it is in place, though, we have no doubt: the Angel of the North will meet its match in the Stallion of the South.