Leading article: Sweet sculpture

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Contemporary art is often characterised as intensely international. So it is perhaps remarkable how many of the proposals for a work of art to grace the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square seem to have made reference to the British national spirit.

At the moment the plinth is occupied by Yinka Shonibare's Nelson's Ship In a Bottle, wholly appropriate in a square named after Britain's defining naval victory. Antony Gormley's "One & Other" made hundreds of Britons themselves into living artworks for an hour at a time.

And the latest submissions for the plinth next year continue the national, even patriotic, theme. Mariele Neudecker proposes a mountain relief in the shape of the map of Britain. Hew Locke wants to replicate statues of Field Marshal Sir George White (found across London in Portland Place), albeit covered in medals and horse brasses.

But if the most patriotic British submission deserves to prevail, it surely has to be Brian Griffiths's giant Battenberg. It is at once a salute to our Victorian heritage and a statement of our unambiguously beneficial legacy to the world: afternoon tea. We say: let them eat cake.