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The Covid Bell

Grayson Perry’s Covid Bell at the Royal Academy of Arts, 2022. Photograph © RA/David Parry

The London Bell Foundry’s business model involves working with the world’s greatest artists to create bells, giving them a value far above production costs. Sale of these artists’ bells can support traditional bell making and ensure the continuity of craft skills in Whitechapel.

This has been proven with the first bell commission from Grayson Perry who supported the campaign to save the Whitechapel Bell Foundry. His Covid Bell has heralded a new demand for bells and a financial model.

“I’ve always wanted to make a bell,” said Grayson, “it is one of the categories of objects that are traditional and potent. This bell I conceived as a memorial to the dead of the pandemic, it is covered in what looks like an aerial view of a multicultural cemetery. It also features a doctor and a patient. It could also be rung as a celebration that we have survived.”

The Covid Bell was commissioned for the London Bell Foundry and fabricated by Factum Arte, cast by Pangolin Foundry in Gloucestershire and tuned by Nigel Taylor. Made during the pandemic, it commemorates this unprecedented time whilst also celebrating London's great bells and their long history in mourning death and celebrating life.

The Elizabeth Bell is a forthcoming commission to commemorate the seventieth anniversary of the coronation of Elizabeth II.

The creation of artists’ bells has fast grown into an international marketplace for the London Bell Foundry with works by world-renowned artists Paula Crown and Conrad Shawcross in the pipeline, as well as a project with an artist in Mexico that will result in two large bells and discussions in progress to deliver a bell for a public monument in Buenos Aires.