Next time you are in the Peace Gardens look up at the chimney over the Ha Ha Bar 8-12 St Paul’s Parade. You’ll see a stainless steel sculpture, by Sheffield based artist Richard Bartle, which features seven life-size doves. Richard’s work is inspired by Pablo Picasso’s visit to Sheffield for the Second World Peace Congress held at Sheffield City Hall in November 1950.
During his visit to Sheffield, Picasso arrived at Sheffield Midland railway station carrying a bouquet of chrysanthemums and wearing an old raincoat and blue beret. He was welcomed by members of the local communist party, the press, and the public, and taken on a tour of the city. He ate a bacon sandwich at Thorpe’s cafe in Fargate; had his hair trimmed at Peckitt’s barbers, and drew a ‘dove of peace’ on a napkin in Butler’s Dining Rooms.
The Congress was to be a special debate on the Korean War, but the Government at the time refused to allow important speakers into the country and it was abandoned. However, Picasso gave a short speech at the City Hall, recalling that he had learnt to paint doves from his father, and ending by saying “I stand for life against death; I stand for peace against war.”
Later whilst returning to London he drew another Dove of Peace on a napkin, which he gave to the bodyguard who had accompanied him around the city. This drawing is part of Sheffield Galleries and Museums Trust’s collection and is on permanent display at the Weston Park Museum.
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