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We are not amused: Shropshire artist's tiger creation proves too much for National Trust

Shrewsbury | News | Published:

It is the artwork that was too much for the National Trust; Shropshire Artist Bill Sample wanted to find an image that would symbolise the British rule of colonised India.

He came up with a quirky sculpture in which a full-sized tiger is pouncing on a model of QueenVictoria.

Mr Sample made his piece, called Tipu's Revenge, for an exhibition at Powis Castle in Welshpool.

But the sight of the British monarch and Empress of India being pounced on by the tiger proved too much for National Trust bosses. They turned the piece down as being unsuitable for an institution with a "strong Royalist tradition".

The artwork isn't just interesting to look at – it is interactive as well.

With the push of a button, Queen Victoria crosses her eyes and waves her arms and legs, while the tiger growls and wags its tail.

It is based on a similar moving piece which depicted a tiger on the chest of a British soldier. The piece was stolen by British soldiers from a palace in India in 1799.

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Mischievous

The owner of the palace was Tipu Sultan, known as the 'Tiger of Mysore', hence the title of Mr Sample's work – Tipu's Revenge.

It is on show at the VAN Gallery in Shrewsbury Market until mid January.

Mr Sample said: "My version is a mischievous update on the original, with Queen Victoria taking the place of the anonymous soldier, as a symbolic act of revenge on behalf of Tipu for the fall of his kingdom. Queen Victoria is in full 'We are not amused' mode."

The artist, 61, who lives in Pontesbury near Shrewsbury, worked as a clinical psychologist for 30 years before taking early retirement to study art full time at Shrewsbury College of Arts and Technology and Stafford University.

His previous works have included a giant wicker bull and Venus Rising, a sculpture of a woman rising from a pool near a waterfall at Earl's Hill, near Pontesbury.

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