Scallop

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20131118

Maggi Hambling's controversial sculpture Scallop was unveiled on Aldeburgh beach in Suffolk ten years ago. It was the artist's gift to the town and intended to commemorate Benjamin Britten - the composer inspired by this stretch of the East Anglian coast and who created a music festival that brought the town international recognition.

Maggi explains the origins and development of the piece and why Scallop is, in her view, 'the most beautiful thing' she's made and the work by which she would like to be remembered. We tell the story of that making with the Peggs, the local metal fabricators, and of the extreme difficulty she had securing permission to site the sculpture on the beach.

We also consider the strong opposition it stirred in Aldeburgh. Why was the piece daubed with graffiti 13 times in the years after its unveiling? The row raises questions about public consultation, about whether the planning system is the appropriate way to make decisions about public art, and about public attitudes to Britten himself.

In Britten's centenary year, Scallop has become a focal point of many people's visit to Aldeburgh, but it still raises hackles.

With contributions from Mel Gooding, Simon Loftus, Jonathan Reekie, Dennis Pegg, Ray Herring and Humphrey Burton.

Producer: Susan Marling

A Just Radio production for BBC Radio 4.