Eric Gill Statue at BBC’s Broadcasting House

Eric Gill iconic statue of , located at the BBC’s Broadcasting House in London, has recently been subjected to an act of vandalism. A yet unidentified individual attacked the sculpture with a hammer, causing significant damage. This incident has sparked debates surrounding the legacy of Eric Gill, known for his artistic contributions but also marred by controversy. In this blog, we discuss the attack on the Eric Gill statue and explore the broader issues it raises.

The Attack:

In a shocking act of vandalism, the statue of Eric Gill, located near the entrance of the BBC’s Broadcasting House, was targeted by an individual wielding a hammer. The attack resulted in substantial damage to the sculpture, raising concerns about the preservation of public art and the motivations behind such acts of destruction.

Eric Gill’s Legacy:

Eric Gill, a renowned sculptor, typeface designer, and artist, made significant contributions to the art world. His works include the famous Prospero and Ariel sculptures on the exterior of Broadcasting House, which have become iconic symbols of the BBC. However, Gill’s legacy is controversial due to revelations about his inappropriate sexual behavior and abuse, which have cast a shadow over his artistic achievements.

The Debate on Legacy:

The attack on the Eric Gill statue has reignited the ongoing debate about whether public monuments should remain standing when their subjects have a contentious history. It raises questions about how society should navigate the complexities of commemorating individuals who have made significant contributions but whose personal actions or beliefs are deemed morally unacceptable by contemporary standards.

Preserving Art and History:

While the act of attacking a statue is not a constructive form of protest or expression, it brings attention to the need for open discussions about controversial figures in history and the role of public art. It highlights the importance of acknowledging the flaws and problematic aspects of historical figures, rather than erasing their contributions entirely. Balancing the preservation of art and history with a critical examination of the individuals they represent is a delicate task that requires thoughtful dialogue and engagement.

Recontextualizing Monuments:

One approach to addressing controversial statues is to recontextualize them by providing additional historical information or interpretive plaques that offer a more nuanced understanding of the figure depicted. This allows viewers to engage with the complexities of the person’s life and actions, fostering a more informed and reflective public discourse.

The Role of Art in Society:

Art has the power to both inspire and challenge. It can provoke discussion and raise awareness of important issues. While the attack on the Eric Gill statue may be seen as an extreme response, it highlights the emotional significance that art holds for individuals and communities. It also emphasizes the role of public art in shaping our collective memory and identity.

Promoting Constructive Dialogue:

Rather than resorting to acts of destruction, it is crucial to encourage open and respectful conversations about controversial figures and their representation in public spaces. Such discussions can help foster a deeper understanding of historical context, promote empathy, and encourage societal progress.


The attack on the Eric Gill statue at the BBC’s Broadcasting House is a stark reminder of the complexities surrounding public monuments and the artists they commemorate. It highlights the ongoing debate about how society should address the legacies of individuals who have made significant contributions but also have a history marred by controversy. While acts of vandalism are not the solution, this incident serves as a call for thoughtful engagement, reevaluation, and meaningful dialogue to shape the ways we honor and represent historical figures in our public spaces.