Spalding’s history as a farming and food production centre has been captured in a new sculpture which can be seen in the town until Christmas.
The Hiring Fair, created by French artist Laury Disengremel, depicts a sheep farmer making a deal with a labourer to work on his land by shaking hands.
Whilst Laury Disengremel’s farmer and farmhand sculpture looks back to 19th century agriculture, it also reaches out to its 21st century counterparts in South Holland food productionJohn Charlesworth, Spalding and District Civic Society
Laury’s sculpture, now on display at Spalding’s South Holland Centre until Thursday, November 16. was jointly commissioned by Spalding and District Civic Society and South Holland community arts programme Transported.
An article in the society’s February newsletter by John Charlesworth said: “Laury Dizengremel’s sculpture commemorates the annual Hiring Fair held each May in Hall Place where farmworkers and domestics converged on Spalding to offer their skills to employers in search of a shephered, ploughboy or dairy maid.
“The hiring fairs were also magnets for travelling showmen of all kinds, with their coconut shies, freak shows and roundabouts, along with music, dancing and drink.
“Whilst Laury’s farmer and farmhand sculpture looks back to 19th century agriculture, it also reaches out to its 21st century counterparts in South Holland food production.”
The new scultpure is an addition to the series of 14 sculptures made by Cornish artist Joseph Hillier as part of the Market Art Project, again jointly commisioned by Spalding and District Civic Society and Transported, that were unveiled around the town in April 2016.
Laury, currently artist-in-residence for the Duke and Duchess of Rutland at Belvoir Castle in Grantham, took about nine months to research and complete her latest commission.
She said: “Whether I’m doing it for Spalding or London (where her sculpture of 18th century landscape designer Capability Brown was unveiled in May), it makes no difference to the way I go about it.”