The Rising Tide

Location (see map):
River Thames, United Kingdom



Installation date:


The Rising Tide depicts a series of working horses with riders on the banks of the River Thames in Central London. It was positioned within sight of the Houses of Parliament as part of the 2015 Totally Thames festival, which celebrates the River Thames every September. It was funded by Lumina Prime8.

A second edition was later created for The Museo Internacional de Arte Contemporáneo, MIAC, Lanzarote, Canary Islands.

The tidal works, which are loosely based on the four horsemen of the Apocalypse, are revealed and partially concealed by the daily ebb and flow of the Thames. Unlike most other works by Jason deCaires Taylor, these were mainly viewable from land, either from the foreshore or elevated from Albert Embankment.

The horses’ heads have been replaced by an oil well pump. The suited figures illustrate an attitude of denial or ambivalence towards our current climate crisis whereas the young riders represent hope in effecting future change.

The sculptures symbolise our desire to control natural forces, but their position in a vast body of moving water highlights our inherent fragility. It is intended to provide a disturbing metaphor for rising sea levels, demonstrating how little time we have to act, yet crucially it offers hope as it resets itself each day, offering us the opportunity for change.

Commissioned by: Totally Thames
Materials: Stainless steel, pH neutral cement, basalt and aggregates