Despite being built as far back as 1841, the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square remained empty for much of its existence. An equestrian statue of William IV was originally intended to be positioned there but lack of funds meant this never came to be. Over 150 years of heated debate passed by before the RSA commissioned three modern sculptures to be displayed temporarily.
This is a trend that has continued ever since, with new contemporary pieces of art placed on the plinth for a fixed period of time, before a new sculpture is commissioned as a replacement. Since 2003 the ownership of Trafalgar Square has fallen under the remit of the Mayor of London, and the art programme is now referred to as the Fourth Plinth Commission.
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