A giant spider took up residence on the banks of the River Thames in central London overnight, but arachnophobes can relax - it does not bite or even move.
The nine metre high and wide creature is made of bronze, stainless steel and marble and is the creation of renowned artist Louise Bourgeois.
Created in 1999 and named Maman in tribute to the artist's mother, its appearance outside the Tate Modern art gallery is the first time it has been on display outdoors in Britain.
"The spider is an ode to my mother. She was my best friend. Like a spider, my mother was a weaver," the 95-year-old Bourgeois said in a statement.
"Like spiders, my mother was very clever. Spiders are friendly presences that eat mosquitoes. We know that mosquitoes spread diseases and are therefore unwanted. So spiders are helpful and protective, just like my mother," she added. French-born Bourgeois is regarded by many as one of the most important artists working today.
She has always been at the forefront of new developments in art, exploring her ideas in painting, printmaking, sculpture, installation and performance, using varied media - from wood and stone to latex and rubber.
Bronze casts of Maman are on permanent display at the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao in Spain, the Samsung Museum of Art in Seoul, the Mori Art Centre in Tokyo and the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.
The Tate's Maman is a taster for an exhibition of 200 works by Bourgeois that will open in the gallery on October 10 and run to January 20, 2008.
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