"Lord of the Dance" is the title of a sculpture Simon Latham made in 1990 when he was resident artist at Peterborough Cathedral. It is composed of three entwined, tubular elements, and creates a lively, cruciform figure.
The title is shared with Sydney Carter’s well-loved hymn and the Hindu god Shiva. The image can be seen as a reference to the crucified Christ (“He opened wide his arms for us on the cross”) and draws to mind the Brazen Serpent, made by Moses and raised on a staff as a symbol of healing to the Israelites in the wilderness, which Christ understood to prefigure his own crucifixion. It also invites comparison with the snake entwined staff of Asclepius, who of all the gods of the ancient world is nearest to the ideal of Christ: his walking stick and snake is now a universal symbol of the medical profession.
Last year, Simon decided to recreate the life-sized sculpture, that once stood in Peterborough Cathedral, and return it to Peterborough for an exhibition along with other related pieces made between 1989 and 1992. These 26 exhibits are now on display in the Wells Museum’s wonderful gallery. Some are carved from wood and others are made of plaster. Variations on the theme include a seated Christ in Majesty and a reclining figure originally referring to St Paul at his conversion. Drawings, paintings and prints exploring the theme are exhibited with the sculptures alongside original photographs. Admission is free and the Museum is open from 10am, Monday to Saturday.