Save The Sunbathers

by Historic England in London, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 25th May 2017 we successfully raised £19,326 with 237 supporters in 35 days

The Sunbathers: help bring a lost piece of the Festival of Britain back home.

by Historic England in London, England, United Kingdom

New stretch target

We still need your help!

We have increased our target by £12,000 to allow us to find a permanent home where the Sunbathers can be on public display. Once the Summertime festival ends, we will be able to insure and remove the piece from its temporary home at The Royal Festival Hall and house it in a specialist art storage facility, and work to secure its future. The Sunbathers was created for public enjoyment - with your continued support we can make it happen.

We are hugely grateful to all our donors who have enabled us to reach our initial target of £15,000 within just five days. We’ve been astounded by the success of the campaign and never imagined the public would react this positively towards the appeal. It is great to see so many people excited about public art and in particular about the restoration and redisplay of this important piece from the Festival of Britain.

We need your help to rescue a remarkable discovery from the Festival of Britain. The 1951 Festival of Britain was a national celebration that inspired a whole generation. Showcasing the best in art, design, craft and sport, it was a beacon of hope for a bruised and battered post-war nation.

At the Southbank, the Festival showcased the best in public art. The artist Peter Laszlo Peri was commissioned to create the sculpture The Sunbathers, which greeted Festival visitors at Waterloo station.

Most of the art created for the Festival of Britain has sadly been lost or destroyed, but last year something amazing happened. Historic England asked the public to help track down lost pieces of public art. The Sunbathers was on that list and with the public's help we tracked it down to the garden of The Clarendon Hotel in Blackheath, London.

The owners bought the sculpture at auction in the 1950s, but didn't realise just what a rare Festival of Britain survival it was. Since then, countless hotel guests have enjoyed the piece, with generations of children scrambling over the figures at weddings and tea parties. All that love means the sculpture needs some care and attention.

With your help we can restore The Sunbathers and get it back on public display, taking pride of place at The Royal Festival Hall for three months as part of The Southbank's Summertime Festival. After that, we'll work to get the sculpture on permanent public display for a new generation.

We have already contributed towards the restoration but we need your help to finish the job. We need £15,000 for specially trained conservators to dry the sculpture out, peel back layers of paint, reshape the wire frame and patch up missing pieces, and then fund its installation and public display, so The Sunbathers can delight visitors to The Southbank once again.

The Sunbathers is a remarkable survivor. The Festival of Britain gave a tired public, optimism, hope and colour. Help us recreate that spirit and donate. Together, we can get The Sunbathers back home.

This project has been approved for funding through the Heritage + The Crowd match funding. It has received a bridge of 50% towards its fundraising target from Heritage Lottery Fund.


This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£5 or more

£5 Reward

Have your name credited on the Crowdfunder and Historic England websites.

£15 or more

£15 Reward

A thank you postcard of The Sunbathers.

£25 or more

£25 Reward

A Sunbathers tote bag, plus your name credited on the Historic England and Crowdfunder websites.

£30 or more

1 of 20 claimed

£30 Reward

NEW REWARD! Gallery on the Street - post-war public art walk in the City of London. Join Alexandra Epps, City of London and Tate guide and lecturer, for a fascinating stroll, discovering the wealth of modern and contemporary public art in the unique and historic square mile. From the hand crafted to the high tech, experience creations both intriguing and inspiring from a wide range of artists.

£50 or more

16 of 20 claimed

£50 Reward

A walking history tour of post-war public art on the Southbank, with renowned author and architectural investigator, Elain Harwood.

£100 or more

16 of 50 claimed

£100 Reward

50 x limited edition, signed, C-type photographs of The Sunbathers on display at the Southbank Centre by architectural photographer James O. Davies.

£500 or more

0 of 10 claimed

£500 Reward

Enjoy private talks by the conservator of The Sunbathers, Tessa Jackson and Sarah Gaventa, curator of Historic England’s 2016 exhibition, Out There, Our Post War Public Art. Plus a tour of the Southbank Centre Archives.

£1,000 or more

1 of 5 claimed

£1,000 Reward

Attend (with a plus one) the private launch party of The Sunbathers unveiling at the Southbank Centre.

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