Crab sculptures appear in Hope Square, Weymouth

NEW sea-themed sculptures that have mysteriously appeared in Hope Square in Weymouth have caused a stir.

The two larger-than-life bronze crabs can now be seen “dancing” above Portland stone barrels that have been set up outside the abandoned Brewers Quay building.

The public art installation appeared outside the old brewery earlier this week, but no one has yet come forward to take official credit for the work.

Photos of the sculptures shared by restorer Barry Whettingsteel via the Hope Square Weymouth Facebook page drew a mixed response on the social media platform – as residents were puzzled over the piece’s origins.

Mr Whettingsteel – who co-owns The Crows Nest restaurant and nearby Secret Garden Café with his partner Emma – posted the high-resolution images on Tuesday, asking people to share their views.

New kids in the neighborhood: Hope Square’s new residents seem like a barrel of laughs (Photo by Barry Whettingsteel)

One person said, “Who created these? No credits or carving details…” while another commented, “They’re awesome…nice to see some public art, very continental.”

‘Weymouth needs imagination and flair to attract tourists. I’m so glad this is happening,’ said another.

However, not everyone was supportive. Critical remarks included: “Not enthusiastic – I’m sure someone will knock the lobsters off looking for a place to sit one evening – I’m sure they could have chosen something more decorative” , and another commentator suggested that the crabs “should be thrown back overboard.”

Others were quick to defend them – saying they looked ‘fabulous’ and improved the appearance of the square – which has long been overshadowed by the looming presence of decaying Brewers Quay . The Victorian red brick has been left to rot despite recent attempts to save it.

Dorset Echo: Social media users were quick to defend commenters' 'unpleasant' remarks (photo by Barry Whettingsteel)Social media users were quick to defend commenters’ ‘nasty’ remarks (photo by Barry Whettingsteel)

Welcoming the new sculptures as a ‘talking point’, one person remarked: ‘With art you either like it or you don’t, so you can argue all night over a few drinks (sic.)”

While another person said, “Cute, until you accidentally sat on a claw… Ouch! I love them.”

The decapods are the work of local stonemason Alex Evans.

Alex’s mother Nathalie told the Echo her son studied stone masonry in Weymouth and has operated his STONEFORM business from the town for around 20 years, carrying out projects locally and overseas.

“He went out with a local sailor, grabbed a crab or two and modeled his sculptures on them,” she said, explaining how the detailed models were initially sculpted in clay before being cast in bronze. .

Dorset Echo: Public art caused a stir (Photo by Barry Whettingsteel)Public art caused a stir (photo by Barry Whettingsteel)

It is understood that the piece is part of the new Weymouth Art Trail commissioned by Dorset Council and Weymouth Town Council.

Designed to “encourage people to explore the city and reveal its history and relationship to water”, the trail is to feature a series of six sculptural installations at different locations around the city. The project was funded by Dorset Council, Weymouth Town Council and Arts Council England.

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