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Steffi Jüngling 
A new monument for 
Sir Francis Drake 
in Offenburg 

When invited to launch an exhibition for the Kunstverein Offenburg, Steffi Jüngling developed a project outside the white cube of the exhibition room.

She researched deep in to the archives of the city and found the story of the 'potato-man' Sir Francis Drake.

The Alsacian sculptor André Friedrich offered the city of Offenburg 1853 one of his sculptures as a gift. Why he did so and why he sculpted a monument for Sir Francis Drake in the first place is unknown. However, nowadays Drake is better known as a pirate than as the person who brought the potato from the new country (probably the potato was introduced in central Europe by Spain via Italy with little connection to Drake).

The people in Offenburg welcomed the monument and for the next 90 years he was a much loved 'inhabitant' of the main city square. In German the name Drake was pronounced as Dreck(=mud), which deepened his popularity.

After the Nazis were in power the potato-man, who had been praised with songs and poems before was suddenly regarded as an enemy. In the night between the 8th and 9th of November 1939 a group of Nazis threw Drake off his plinth and destroyed the monument.

The owner of the pub 'Sonne' at the city square saw what had happened and when the Nazis were gone he collected the stone hands of Drake; later he donated them to the local museum where they are on display.

In May this year, 25 different potato varieties were planted in the flower pots throughout the city in in memory of the monument. There they will grow until autumn when the potatoes will be harvested. In September there will be an exhibition with works by Steffi Jüngling.

List with the potato-varieties

Many old citizens of Offenburg remember how they were swinging on the chains around the Drake monument
This monument for St. Ursula replaced Sir Francis Drake
(the potatos planted around the monument are British Queen, Lady Balfour, King Edward and Duke of York)
This variety is called 'Picasso'
'British Queen'

Special Thanks to

  • Kunstverein Offenburg
  • Frau Herrmann-Burkart, Stadt Offenburg, Fachbereich Planen, Hochbau, Umwelt
  • Gärtnerei Einstein
  • TBO (Technischen Betriebe Offenburg)
  ©2006 Steffi Jüngling