National Recording Project

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Detail from: Memorial to 158 Squadron by Peter W. Naylor, 2009

Untitled Abstract Relief

Summary

Type Sculpture

     An abstract relief composed of spiral and cube motifs which forms an effective contrast between the grey patina of the work and the red brick of the wall. The artist described its intended symbolism in the Stratford-upon-Avon Herald in 1964: 'I have tried to create in terms of a sculptured relief the abstract symbolism of Shakespeare's greatness. The sculptural blocks on the left represent the number of works produced by Shakespeare . . . the sonnets and poems being represented by one slightly larger block in the centre. These blocks are embraced by a large fan-like shape moving vigorously down, sweeping towards and encircling a round form, which is meant to represent the world. The shape is the active power and genius of the man. The larger of the two rounded forms at the top is Shakespeare and the smaller one divine inspiration. The square shape behind all this, which is made up of boards, is meant to represent the theatre and I had, of course, the Globe in mind.'(1)
     The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust had the Shakespeare Centre built in the early 1960s. Levi Fox, then Director of the Trust, described the commissioning of this relief in his memoirs: 'Lawrence Williams [the architect] and I considered the treatment of the approach to the building to be all important. From the beginning, we had shared with the Trustees the feeling that the exterior brickwork of the curved end of the reading room facing Henley Street needed some kind of relief. Various suggestions were made and explored, and the solution was eventually found when the sculptor, Douglas Wain Hobson, an Associate of the Royal College of Art, was commissioned to produce a sculptured relief in bronze, abstract in design, to be fixed on the upper part of the curved, brickwork wall immediately to the left of the portico entrance. It is a striking piece of architectural modelling , depicting the influence of Shakespeare emanating from his plays and encircling the world'.(2)
    

Contributor details

Contributor Role
Wain Hobson, Douglas Sculptor

Element details

Part of work Material Dimensions
Relief Bronze 150cm high x 200cm wide x 35cm deep approx.

PMSA recording information

Reference Region
WAsaSAtg006 BM
General condition Good
Surface condition
  • Bird guano
  • Metallic staining
Structural condition
Vandalism
  • None
Road Henley Street
Precise location on the wall of the Shakespeare Centre
A-Z ref None
OS ref SP201551
Date of design None
Year of unveiling 1964
Unveiling details 22 April 1964
Commissioned by Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
Duty of care Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
Listing status Not listed
At risk? No known risk

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