Toads prepare to take over Hull / BBC Front Row reports on Larkin25

For BBC Radio 4’s Front Row, Mark Lawson reports from Hull as the city prepares to mark the 25th anniversary of the death of poet Philip Larkin.

Click here to listen to the programme.

The above image depicts Mark Lawson amongst the giant toad sculptures, due to be released around Hull as part of the Larkin25 programme.

Larkin with Toads is a large scale, mass participation public art event that will populate the city with enormous decorated toads for 10 weeks during summer 2010, as part of Larkin25.

Taking Philip Larkin’s poems Toads and Toads Revisited as a starting point, giant decorated toad sculptures will pop up all over the city of Hull and surrounding areas.

Each of the sculptures, spawned from a master design by Chris Wilkinson of Wild in Art, will stand about 1m tall. With the assistance of sponsorship by local businesses, and practical support from Artlink these will be decorated by artists, designers, and community groups.

Larkin was a renowned animal lover, and a hard worker – his poems Toads and Toads Revisited take a darkly comic look at the pressures and pleasures of working life. In the first poem, Larkin compares work to a Toad squatting on his life, returning to the theme in Toads Revisited to reflect on his more positive feelings towards work in later life.

Larkin with Toads brings Larkin’s vision of the Toad to life – the Toads will brighten up working days and holidays alike for Hull visitors and residents alike – and we hope they will inspire people to look at the poetry too!   

Larkin with Toads will be launched on 17 July 2010. Each toad will be decorated by artists and sponsored by local businesses and community groups.

BBC Today has also featured Larkin25, with arts correspondent Rebecca Jones talking to the actor Sir Tom Courtenay, who is putting on a special show to commemorate the poet. Click here to listen to the interview.

For more information,  visit