The Elephant Parade, London - Part II

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An elephant-shaped building

The second planned day of Elephant hunting and a continuation of the S.W. London route and to Sloane Square.

As I work here, it is easy for me to get there, and there they where. Two elephants. The first was a duck-egg blue elephant, "Kingdom", decorated with very finely painted images of rare animals, insects and plants, by Rebecca Campbell, and probably the elephant I took the most photos of. The other elephant was painted black, with very bright images of tulips on it, called "Josephine". Where some of these names came from is beyond me...

Time to walk down Lower Sloane Street and on to Orange Square in Pimlico. As it is close to where I work I knew how to get there, but it did pose a problem for many people, as it does not show up on most street maps. It was surprising how many people I gave the directions to over the following weeks.

Here there were four elephants, the first being "Elephant Alfalfa", another elephant painted black, with a rather garish design painted on by Nina Campbell (a relation of Rebecca's by any chance?) It was positioned close to a florist's, with its rear butted up to the wall. This was a common frustration of mine, as it meant that I couldn't photograph some of the elephants from all aspects, so losing some of the artwork. The next was possibly the most photogenic, if not iconic. "Union Jack". Its location with two G2 telephone boxes behind it made it a perfect candidate for photographing. Directly opposite, on a raised area, was "Cocoa Elephant". This was painted in a pastel colour with, believe it or not, cocoa pods painted onto it. Different.

Just ten metres away was another well-decorated elephant called "Old Map of London". This had an antiquarian map of London running over the main body, concentrating on the River Thames, primarily – a theme adopted by a number of artists – with images of people in period costume on it. My knowledge of fashion history could not determine the era.

Back to Sloane Square and the King's Road. Here there were another two elephants, the first being very tricky to find, being positioned between two stores. This was "Doors", with stylised doors painted on it. Not one of my favourites, and it seemed a little incongruous to me, as did the next, "The Elephant in the Room". The decoration on this elephant was of a fabric draped over the back with tassels suspended from the base with various gee-jaws at the end.

A little further along, there were another two elephants in close proximity. The first depicted an image of the earth, with India on the face of the elephant at midday, and then the rest of the world in their respective time zones at that time. The artwork was well executed, and was another of my favourites. It had been named "Gaia Elephant". Next door to it was "Gloria", a highly decorative elephant in a rather garish brown-ochre finish with bright Asian patterns.

It was time for a short trek to The Royal Hospital, Chelsea, where the last three elephants for this search were to be found. The first was "Help!", a rather tired and tatty elephant, bedecked in turfs of grass that were dried out, with the grass dying. This elephant was to be replaced twice during the course of the Parade's exhibition. The second was painted grass-green, and the third was covered in Astroturf... I did sense an irony with the slowly dying grass being an unintentional metaphor of the slowly dying race of Asian Elephants.

The other elephant was "Dedicated to the Wonderful Chelsea Pensioners" designed by Mark Shand, the patron of The Elephant Family charity. Unfortunately the elephant was being painted by the Pensioners themselves and was not ready (this occurred with a number of elephants that weren't in situ when I went to see them) and so I had to plan a future visit. By this time I was exhausted and so headed home, passing "Peony" en route, but was too tired to stop. I didn't have time to do the next.

I had to get up early on Monday, 10th May, to visit "Peony", situated in Fulham Road, which was on my 211 bus route to work. This was an elephant designed by Sophie Coryndon and sponsored by Farrow and Ball, the paint makers who sponsored the Elephant Parade and donated the paint to all the artists. They are the providers and creators of specialist paints for English Heritage and the National trust. This elephant was purchased by Farrow and Ball for £7,000.

All of the elephants could be pre-purchased before the Auction to be held in July, for a set figure of £7,000, and a reasonable number were bought accordingly – some of which, I am certain, would have realised more at auction. A good way to bag a bargain, and a unique item!!!

I'd love to know where it is now, as I saw this elephant daily. I still see the rust marks on the pavement, which causes a real twinge in the chest. A truly stupid sensation. It was a fibreglass elephant covered in blue paint!!!

Here are photographs to view.

Elephant in underwear

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