This statue stands on the south side of the cathedral (Image 1) – turn right after you’ve entered the Christ Church gate and you’ll see it some distance on the left towards the far (east) end of the building.
Completed in 1988 and dedicated that year by Archbishop Robert Runcie, it stands over 7 feet high and is cast in bronze. It was created by David McFall who died of cancer shortly before the dedication took place. The figure was originally submitted as a candidate for the competition to fill the vacant niche on the Christ Church gate. This was won by Klaus Ringwald but the McFall statue was admired and thought suitable for its present site. The large hands on the Son of Man figure (Image 2) were designed to be viewed high on the gate – the optical distortion in this position would make them look more balanced. David McFall (1919-1988) was known for his depictions of Winston Churchill, Clement Atlee, Prince Charles and Ralph Vaughan Williams. At the time of this last commission (Image 3), his career was at a low ebb. “He became one of the most neglected sculptors in this country. A great talent whose misfortune was to fall out of fashion” (John Ward RA). His last work was controversial – some felt the man depicted was simply too old. Others, including Archbishop Runcie, noted “in the setting of the cathedral grandeur … at the heart of the Christian faith … is a strong man of sorrows, a friend of the poor and suffering, and a servant of all”.
Click on any of the 3 images below to enlarge and read the captions
DL (November 2011)
Update (1 April 2020): the statue has been moved to a new position, on raised ground on the Campanile Mound. In its original position, at ground level, some features – the raised hand in particular – looked disproportionately large. This arose because the statue was intended to be located high on the Christ Church gate (see above). If you’re viewing the south side of the cathedral, you’ll now need to turn 180 degrees to see the Son of Man.