THE WB YEATS STATUE BY HENRY MOORE IN ST STEPHEN’S GREEN
Published on 8 July 2020: “Today, the Office of Public Works is delighted to announce the reopening of the William Butler Yeats Memorial in St Stephens Green Park, following an extensive programme of conservation works including the rejuvenation of ‘Knife Edge’ a sculpture by the internationally renowned sculpture Henry Moore.”
The W.B. Yeats Memorial is situated in an area known as the “Mount”, being a series of irregular terraces, forming an amphitheatre within the park. The creation of the amphitheatre was intentional; to provide an area in the Green that can be used for quiet contemplation or theatre, in the round and oration, reflecting Yeats’ work as a poet & playwright, as much as an informal place for people to gather. It remains today a much loved place, regarded by many as their own shared secret place among the trees.
The sculpture was donated by the W.B. Yeats Memorial Committee and funded by Irish American Philanthropist Mr. J. Kelly and Córas Tráchtála Teoranta. The Committee, who made a formal application to the Office of Public Works to place the proposed memorial in St Stephens Green, as “it was one of Yeats’ favourite haunts.”
The location of the sculpture was specifically chosen for the attractive views of the lake and waterfall obtained from the setting, which was terraced and paved by the Office of Public Works at the time. It has been cited as one of the finest settings for Henry Moore’s ‘Knife Edge’ by such eminent bodies as the Henry Moore Foundation.
Set onto the terrace in front of the sculpture is a plaque giving the sculpture its context as part of the Memorial. This was created by esteemed Sculptor Michael Biggs, the prominent sculptor and graphic designer responsible for the Arbour Hill Memorial Wall and the Series B Irish Banknotes (circulation 1976-1992).
On October 26th 1967, the W.B. Yeats Memorial was unveiled by the Taoiseach, Mr. Jack Lynch. The recent works included; repair and re-laying of pavements, steps and terraces; conservation of bronze sculpture and plaque; and installation of handrails to improve accessibility to the W.B. Yeats Memorial.