In cities around the globe, significant public spaces are punctuated by heroic statues or forms of public art. With Charleston’s rich and storied history, the Holy City is no different. Many of the city’s public places are marked by unique statues. Two of the most notable in Charleston are the statue of famous South Carolinian John C. Calhoun, set in Marion Square, and the Confederate Defenders of Charleston monument, which can be seen in Battery Park.
As guests arrive at the main entrance of Charleston Place Hotel between Meeting and Hassell Street, they are greeted by a hulking statue named “Quadriga.” In the mid 80’s, the hotel wanted to create a signature piece that would complement the hotel and destination, so they did what any other self respecting property would do—they commissioned sculptor John Mills, a member of the Royal Society of British Sculptors and the Royal Society of Arts. When Mills visited Charleston, he was struck by the history and architecture with its many references to ancient Greek and Roman styles.
Quadriga features a 14-foot Greek revival column in the center surrounded by four 9-foot bronze horses representing the significance of the horse in Charleston’s history, as well as its present day role. At the top of the sculpture is a Carolina bird of prey, which was long ago prevalent in the Charleston Market.
A quadriga is a car or chariot drawn by four horses, and symbolizes triumph, victory and fame. It is a very popular sculpture around the world, with significant pieces found in cities like Berlin, Brooklyn, Paris and Saint Petersburg.
What is your favorite statue or piece of public art found around the Holy City?