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Seven Ages of Man 22 foot totem pole sculpture inspired by shakespeare

7 ages of man shakespear sculpture
7 ages of man shakespear sculpture

William Shakespeare’s play ‘7 ages of man’ is the inspiration for this 22-foot high cast aluminium Sculpture, on Queen Victoria Street, Blackfriars by Artist Richard Kindersley

The seven ages of man according to William Shakespeare in his play ‘As You Like It’, Act 2 Scene 7

‘All the world’s a stage’, by William Shakespear

And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms;
And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school.

The Post office Commissioned this sculpture in 1980, outside one of the British Telecom buildings, Baynard House. They based the sculpture on the Seven Ages of Man poem that William Shakespeare wrote.

“All the World’s A Stage”, the beginning of Shakespeare’s’ monologue in his play “As you like it”.

According to Shakespeare’s play, life evolves through several stages, from infancy to the grave.  The Totem Sculpture depicts this journey starting at the bottom with a figure of infancy. As you progress up the column body clock takes effect and takes you on a journey

Stage 1 Infancy

The helpless baby, the very beginning

Artist Richard Kindersley The Seven Ages of Man Sculpture - Stage 1 Infancy
Artist Richard Kindersley The Seven Ages of Man Sculpture – Stage 1 Infancy

Stage 2 Schoolboy

The formal education phase

Artist Richard Kindersley The Seven Ages of Man Sculpture - Stage 2 Schoolboy The formal education phase
Stage 2 Schoolboy The formal education phase

Stage 3 Teenager

The growing into adulthood

Artist Richard Kindersley The Seven Ages of Man Sculpture Stage 3 growing into Adulthood Teenager
Artist Richard Kindersley The Seven Ages of Man Sculpture Stage 3 growing into Adulthood Teenager
Artist Richard Kindersley The Seven Ages of Man Sculpture
Artist Richard Kindersley The Seven Ages of Man Sculpture

Stage 4 Young man

The bold and fearless soldier, a risk-taker and growth

And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow.

Artist Richard Kindersley The Seven Ages of Man Sculpture - the young man
Artist Richard Kindersley The Seven Ages of Man Sculpture – the young man

Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth,

Artist Richard Kindersley The Seven Ages of Man Sculpture - the young man and soldier
Artist Richard Kindersley The Seven Ages of Man Sculpture – the young man and soldier

Stage 5 Middle-aged

The wise and experienced adult, making a name for himself, prosperous and respected, enjoys the finer things of life, like good food.

Artist Richard Kindersley The Seven Ages of Man Sculpture - Middle Age
Artist Richard Kindersley The Seven Ages of Man Sculpture – Middle Age

And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;

Artist Richard Kindersley The Seven Ages of Man Sculpture - Middle Age
Artist Richard Kindersley The Seven Ages of Man Sculpture – Middle Age

And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;

Stage 6 Old Man

The look and behaviour of an old man, less influential

Artist Richard Kindersley The Seven Ages of Man Sculpture - Old Man
Artist Richard Kindersley The Seven Ages of Man Sculpture – Old Man
His youthful hose, well sav’d, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound.
Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion;
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
by William Shakespeare 1564–1616

Stage 7 Dotage and death

The end cycle, mind and health decline

Artist Richard Kindersley The Seven Ages of Man Sculpture
Artist Richard Kindersley The Seven Ages of Man Sculpture
Artist Richard Kindersley The Seven Ages of Man Sculpture
Artist Richard Kindersley The Seven Ages of Man Sculpture

Possible inspiration of ‘7 ages of man’

The 7 ages of man, mirrors the 7 deadly sins. Juvenal the Roman poet wrote about the whole of Greece is a stage and every Greek an actor. The Play Damon and Pythias written around 1564 by Richard Edwards, referred to the world is a stage and people playing their parts.  But there are more connections the Latin words quod fere totus Mundus exercet histrionem – mean ” because almost the whole world are actors.”  It was a 12th century saying. It was on a sign at Shakespeare’s Globe theatre and also has a connection to the Roman courtier Petronius.

‘7 ages of Man’ depicted in oils

King Henry the V had a tapestry with the 7 ages of man. An artist by the name of Smirke painted a series of paintings based on the seven ages of man 1798-1801. They comprised the Infant, Schoolboy, Lover, Soldier, Justice, Pantaloon, Old Age In 1838 another painting by William Mulready.

Baynard House

The ‘7 Ages of Man’ Totem pole type sculpture is in the courtyard of Baynard House, owned by BT Group. William Holford’s Brutalist designed building stands at 3 stories tall, the height dictated by legislation that protects the sightline of St Pauls Cathedral from certain directions on the compass. It derives the Building’s name from Baynard Castle, which once occupied the site. The name also lends itself to the ‘Castle Baynard Ward’. Baynard house was also the film location for Mission Impossible 6

Location

We can find it on Queen Victoria Street on the way towards Blackfriars.

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