Friday, 15 April 2011
Ten per cent of those on board Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar came from outside Great Britain. Nine of the seven hundred came from the West Indies, and there was one sailor from Africa. I pulled down one of the naval history books on our shelves to dig out the figures when we got home after two nights in London during which we enjoyed stumbling across the present occupant of the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square. The artist, Yinka Shonibare, said the installation was partly about the legacy of colonialism, and the sails represent patterns on African dresses; I hope she knows about the multi-cultural nature of the crew.