Just to the north of Spitalfields Market is a public sculpture looking like a swirl of a person crouching down.

According to a small sign in the pavement, it’s called Vortex by Barbara Sandler, and was unveiled by Nick Raynsford MP on 22nd July 1999. It was commissioned by St George, the company responsible for the housing development behind it.

Anyone hunting for the artist, Barbara Sandler will struggle, until they realise she is better known as Lady Barbara Bear, but worked as an artist under her maiden name.

Her husband since 1979, Alderman Sir Michael Bear was the Lord Mayor of London in 2010-11. Before that, he was responsible for the completion of the development of Spitalfields and was Chief Executive of the Spitalfields Development Group

Beyond that, it’s been remarkably difficult to find out anything about the sculpture. It’s an enigma, a mystery. What does it represent? Does it even matter?

Just enjoy it for what it is.


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