Detail from the proposal for Toad in the Hull designed by Janis Goodman with artwork by Sarah Fisher

Toad in the Hull

Larkin with Toads

For three months, from 21st July to 25th September 2010, the streets of Hull were populated with 40 giant, colourful, artist-decorated Toad sculptures, forming a trail around Hull and the surrounding area.

The project was a major strand in the Larkin25 programme of multi-arts events, performances, exhibitions and commissions, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the death of Philip Larkin. Widely regarded as one of the greatest English poets, Larkin lived in Hull for over 30 years. His poems ‘Toads’ and ‘Toads Revisited’ provided the inspiration for the Larkin with Toads public art project.

Toad in the Hull

The design is based on a series of vignettes in which conversations take place, literally and metaphorically about Larkin and the toad. Brightly coloured cartoon-like illustrations, incorporating Hull landmarks such as the Deep, Queens Gardens and the Humber Bridge, cover the surface of the toad in an organic fashion.

Toad in the Hull was designed by Janis Goodman with artwork by Sarah Fisher. The toad is sponsored by Kier Building Maintenance Hull and who kindly donated ‘Toad in the Hull’ to the University of Hull for displaying at the Hull History Centre.