Chopin in Manchester
A newly-commissioned bronze monument celebrating the life of Frédéric Chopin has been unveiled in Manchester. The work, by Polish sculptor Robert Sobocinski, is the brainchild of the Polish Heritage Society. It sits on a two metre high sandstone plinth and shows Chopin at the piano, gazing across at his muse Baroness Dupon. Carved into the work is an eagle in flight, Poland's symbol for over one thousand years, and a battle scene symbolising the country's fight for freedom. Fittingly, it includes material dating from 1831, the year of the November Uprising by Poles against the Russian Empire.
The largest statue of Chopin outside Poland, it stands outside Centurion House on Deansgate, in the commercial heart of the city. The building is owned by property company Bruntwood, which has a long tradition of supporting the arts by purchasing and commissioning works to feature both in its own buildings and other public spaces. Chopin played in Manchester just once, in August 1848. By then in poor health, he was horrified to find an audience of over one thousand people waiting for him and the concert was not a success. The Manchester Guardian noted 'an almost painful air of feebleness in his appearance and gait'.