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.