Monumental Task

I’ve used this database created by the Public Monuments & Sculptures Association a lot. It’s a national recording project that aims to collect information on all British public sculpture and monuments, whether historic or contemporary.

As well as including Lichfield’s usual suspects, the database also features some of our less obvious works such as the Calming Stone in Beacon Park, the etched glass in the Library foyer, the facade of Boots in Tamworth St and the Standing Stones I formed a bit of an attachment to back in November 2011.

 

Facade of Boots created 1908. Decorations include an owl, a beehive and a piper. There must have been a good reason for this motley crew!

They're outside!

 

Not everything on the list is still around – there’s an entry for Dean Denton’s Market Cross which was pulled down in 1849. There are also entries on the database that don’t seem to have made it as fully fledged pieces of Lichfield public sculpture.  Since Pat brought it to our attention back in November 2011 an entry has now appeared on the database about the Vision & Youth sculpture.

As the association says,  ‘The database is an excellent resource for students & researchers, conservators, local historians, art buffs, enthusiasts, genealogists and all who want to know more about public sculpture: statues; obelisks; columns; sculptures; installations; fountains; follies; commemorative clocks; wayside markers; and towers – from the Stuart era to the present day.’ I think it’s fantastic and you can read more about future plans & how you can get involved in contributing information here.

One to be added to the database in the future is the proposed statue of Erasmus Darwin at Cathedral Walk (I think there’s another one planned for Beacon Park too). I’ve just been reading a few of the comments about this on the S106 document. One person said that they were in favour of the statue, as Darwin is a local hero we should be proud of. However, the comment goes on to say that Lichfield should also celebrate more contemporary heroes relevant to young people and also more women ‘not just old blokes’.* I think this is potentially a whole new blog post but this is a really interesting point. Who or what should we be commemorating with our future public art & monuments?  

*I remember when I was a young person. A young person who used to go out on a Saturday night instead of sitting in reading the comments on S106 consultations 😉

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Standing Stones

Police Mutual is on my route into central Lichfield. It’s also our spec for watching the Bower procession (from where my parents always tut about the Festival Gardens being used as a car park, but I digress…..).

I always think of the sea when I look at the sculpture in the entrance. However, I’ve never gone up to the front door for a closer look. So whilst out for a walk on a Sunday, with the office closed, I decided to have a peep through the glass doors.

Standing Stones – Please DO NOT attempt to skim these across Minster Pool

On reflection it was probably a you had to be there moment, but at the time I was delighted to discover the stones weren’t actually behind glass. “They’re are outside! Look!”, I yelled to an unenthusiatic Mr G. I walked around the stones a couple of times, because I could! It’s fast becoming something of a cliche, but once again I found myself thinking, “All the times I’ve walked past here & I didn’t know!”. On my third or fourth lap, a man walking past gave me a bemused look (possibly thinking I’d come straight from the Queens Head) and Mr G was trying to shuffle off in the direction of Greggs. As there was no further clue to what the stones represented or their purpose,  I took a photo and followed.

Back home, I discovered that the sculpture is called ‘Standing Stones’, and is an abstract in glass fibre reinforced concrete, designed by Marcus Hole in 2000.  And the sea connection? Well,  they are supposed to be larger versions of the water-smoothed pebbles that, if you’re anything like me, you pick up on the beach for closer examination. Go and have a look at the giant Lichfield ones & see what you think….they’re outside you know!

As always, one thing leads to another, and it got me thinking more about public sculpture & art. I believe the most recent in Lichfield,  is said to be the “Formation of Poetry”, by Peter Walker (who coincidentally shares the name with the author of the PMAS book!). It was commissioned to celebrate Dr Johnson’s Tercentenary and can be found in the Tesco carpark.

The Formation of Poetry

Intriguingly though, Pat has told me about an artwork commissioned to celebrate the millenium in Lichfield, that seems to have disappeared. It looks like an angel and answers to the name ‘Vision & Youth’. Perhaps a bit of detective work is needed, which is quite appropriate as it was the Police Mutual book which started all this off 😉

Sources:

Public Sculpture of Staffordshire & the Black Country – George T Noszlopy & Fiona Waterhouse

http://www.malvern-net.co.uk/mal-net/m_biznes/carlytinkler/news/2000_12.htm

http://52weeksofart.com/main.php/2010/11/21/the-formation-of-poetry-model