Pump and Circumstance

Last week was a very exciting time here at The Elgar Birthplace Museum, as a piece of street art popped up at the Museum over the weekend.

Cycle d'amour

Cycle d’amour by We Love Art

The new mural, which shows Sir Edward Elgar enjoying a cycle ride, is named Cycle d’amour and was commissioned by the Museum, with funding from The Elgar Society West Midlands Branch and The Kay Trust. The artwork was created by We Love Art, local artists who have created several other pieces of Elgar street art around Worcestershire.

 As well as being great to look at, the work also shows how different Elgar was from the stuffy Victorian gentleman he is sometimes believed to have been. Elgar was a forward-thinking man who could be very funny, and liked to amuse himself and others with codes, crosswords and humorous doodles.

Elgar loved to cycle and was known to cycle up to 50 miles a day. At the museum, we have maps that Elgar owned and marked on his cycle routes. These trips would often give him inspiration for his musical works.

Besides cycling Sir Edward Elgar had a wide variety of other hobbies. He was interested in Chemistry and is credited with inventing a process for creating sulfuretted hydrogen, which is used to make stink bombs.  He also enjoyed woodworking making pen pots, trying his hand at poker-work and even made an Aeolian Harp. He played golf and greatly enjoyed betting on horseracing in his later years.

With such a sensational piece of art, that provides such a contrast to other objects in the rest of the Museum’s collections, it would be great to use it to develop activities for families and young people such as a street art workshop.

This wonderful piece of art has arrived just in time for The Tour of Britain, a national bike race that started in Liverpool yesterday. The tour will be cycling quite close by the Museum on Wednesday, so watch out for Edward Elgar joining in too.

Lily (Elizabeth) Dean