Forward thinking about our heritage
At PMSA, we aim to heighten public appreciation of Britain's public sculpture, and to contribute to its promotion, protection and preservation. We seek to achieve this through a number of ongoing projects which include: the National Recording Project, the Sculpture Journal, Save our Sculpture and the PMSA Awards for Public Sculpture.
PMSA is a registered charity, and we rely heavily on the voluntary work of our members. Our projects and publications are funded by member subscriptions and by the generosity of a number of individuals, institutions and grant-giving bodies.
Established in 1991, PMSA aims to bring together individuals and organisations with a mutual interest in public sculpture and monuments; in particular, their history, provenance and preservation.
We actively encourage members to help raise public awareness of Britain's monumental heritage - through events, publications and dialogue; and we campaign for listing, preservation, protection and restoration.
The current time-span, beginning from around the Stuart period, extends to brand new commissions and also includes the three 13th century Eleanor Crosses that survive in Geddington, Hardingstone and Waltham Cross, plus other medieval work still surviving in public places.
Over the past thirty years, we have been supported and encouraged in our work by a huge list of esteemed patrons and Vice Presidents.
Our current President is HRH Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester who is actively involved with us via the PMSA Sculpture Awards.
Since the start, we were actively encouraged by writer and sculpture scholar Benedict Read, and by Andrew and Janet Naylor, metal sculpture conservators.
PMSA initiated the National Recording Project, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and collaborated with the publishers Liverpool University Press on the acclaimed series Public Sculpture of Britain, and has established the much respected Sculpture Journal. We have delivered events, conferences and publications in collaboration with English Heritage, the UK Institute of Conservators, University College Dublin and many other similar institutions. The PMSA operates an advisory service and distributes newsletters to its members.
Other projects include the Custodians Handbook, published in 2005, and designed to give guidance to families and individuals who inherit sculptors' works, studios, archives and memorabilia.
Richard Huws’ iconic kinetic water sculpture in the Goree Piazza, off Drury Street in Liverpool. Known locally as the Bucket Fountain, it was commissioned by the Merseyside Civic Society and unveiled in 1967. Fabricated locally by welders at Cammell Laird, the stainless steel and bronze artwork is the only remaining example in the world of the eight similar works commissioned globally (other locations included London, Tokyo and New York).
Artist Michael Johnson has installed nearly two hundred works in the UK and Ireland, including his stunning Mussel Sculpture, in Musselburgh - made of stainless steel and bronze in Michael’s Nottinghamshire studio.
Commissioned by East Lothian Council and financed through a section 106 agreement, the work is sited near to Musselburgh Harbour overlooking the Firth of Forth.
The Sculpture Journal is looking to appoint several new editors to form a new Editorial Group. Sculpture Journal has been in publication since 1997. It is jointly owned by the Public Monuments and Sculpture Association (PMSA) and Liverpool University Press (LUP), producing three issues a year, with an increasingly wide range of forms and subjects. Prospective candidates are invited to submit an expression of interest by emailing PMSA by 30 March 2019. DOWNLOAD ROLE PROFILE HERE
Queen Victoria’s Equestrian Portrait Statues
By Philip Ward-Jackson
Sculpture historian Philip Ward-Jackson unravels a battle royal between sculptors seeking the prestigious commission to make an equestrian portrait statue of the Queen. Philip studied art at St Martin’s School of Art and art history at the Courtauld Institute. Most of his professional life was spent working in the Courtauld’s Conway Library, a photographic archive devoted to recording architecture, sculpture and manuscripts.
The London Group invites submissions for the 84th Open exhibition, that will take place in two parts on 20-29 November and 3-4 December 2019 at The Cello Factory.
Submissions of work are invited from visual artists working in any medium including, painting, sculpture, drawing, print, photography, mixed media, installation, video, sound, digital and performance. Selected exhibitors will show a maximum of one work. Approximately 120 works will be shown in total with a minimum of 60 works by non-members.
For the prestigious annual Tate Britain Commission artists have been requested to interact with the vast, suggestive neoclassical architecture of the Duveen sculpture galleries. Mike Nelson was finally appointed for 2019, as Tate Britain director Alex Farquharson announced.
An arresting sculptural artwork by Southwark artist Sokari Douglas Camp is patiently awaiting permanent public art space in the borough. The piece will will be on display at Southwark Council Offices. 160 Tooley Street. London SE1 2QH from 3rd April – 18th April 2019.
The purpose of this exhibition is to initiate a conversation with local councilors and town planners, developers and cultural ambassadors in order to find a permanent venue for the sculpture, in Southwark.
Imagine a gigantic chunk of Toblerone six meters high, with the head and foot of a stone coffin jutting out at each side – giving the (unconvincing) impression that the coffin passes through the centre of the monument. To add to its mystery, cryptic wording cast into the structure’s ornamental ironwork states ‘I byde my time’.
I ambled across this curiosity whilst attempting to walk-off the Sunday lunch I’d just eaten at a nearby restaurant. A single word came to mind … ‘why?’
There are currently more public statues of named animals in Edinburgh, than of women.
The statue of Greyfriar’s Bobby, the loyal Skye terrier who famously mourned at his master’s grave for 14 years, is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the city – even though it has been claimed that the story was a hoax. Along with Wojtek the Bear and the unusually-named Bum the Dog, Bobby completes a trio of statues to named animals in Edinburgh, outnumbering monuments to the city’s women.
As in society, there’s still a long way to go before we achieve gender balance in monuments, and Edinburgh is not unique.
The Public Monuments and Sculpture Association (PMSA) has granted funding of £30,000 to University of Hertfordshire to protect and preserve one of the university’s most prized artworks. Vertical Forms, by esteemed British sculptor Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975), will be removed from the façade of the building for the first time since it was created in 1952, before taking centre stage in a major new exhibition.
Today, as it’s St Piran’s Day, we’re focussing on Cornwall. At the corner of Cross Street and Trevenson Street in Camborne, stands a monument to Richard Trevithick; the sculpture, by LS Merrifield, was completed in 1928. The gilded bronze statue shows Trevithick holding a model of a steam locomotive and a set of callipers.
‘Messenger’ arrived in Plymouth this morning, after her 270-mile journey from the Welsh foundry where she was cast. The UK’s largest cast bronze sculpture is by artist Joseph Hillier and will be sited outside the Theatre Royal, Plymouth. Once complete, 'Messenger' - nicknamed Bianca by the people of Plymouth, will measure seven metres high, nine metres wide and will weigh more than 10 tonnes.
Justine Simons, Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries, leads a free discussion on female monuments for the 21st century. In the UK, there is a severe shortage of civic monuments dedicated to the lives and achievements of women. It’s believed that public statues of men outnumber women by 16 to one.
Led by ArtUK in partnership with PMSA, this ambitious project is transforming the way people access and learn about their sculpture heritage and will allow audiences to share knowledge, exchange opinions and visit sculptures – both in person and online.
An upcoming project between in conjunction with the University of Hertfordshire will see the de-installation, conservation and re-siting of the University of Hertfordshire’s Barbara Hepworth sculpture Vertical Forms. The relief sculpture Vertical Forms by Barbara Hepworth is located on the façade of the Main Building, College Lane campus. It was commissioned for the opening of Hatfield Technical College in 1952 and was built into the fabric of the building.
The highly acclaimed Public Sculpture of Britain series was developed jointly by PMSA and Liverpool University Press (LUP) from the PMSA's National Recording Project, which aims to provide a survey of all public sculpture nationwide from the classic to the contemporary.
Two new online resources: Sculpture in National Trust Collections, Royal Academy Catalogues Online | Public Sculpture of Edinburgh | PMSA launches publishing label | Departures and thanks
“I actually hate most public sculpture. So much of it commemorates figureheads of empire, the powerful and wealthy, who shaped public discourse and have consolidated Britain’s position through war, colonisation and the enslavement of others. Admiral Nelson was a vehement opponent of Wilberforce’s battle to abolish slavery, and has pride of place on his column; Edward Colston in Bristol earned a statue and multiple place names by contributing to the economy through the slave trade.”
Medardo Rosso (1858-1928) is considered Italy’s most important modern sculptor and the most well-known Impressionist sculptor. Three new publications cover the art of Rosso: two exhibition catalogues and one monograph.
The 2018 PMSA Education team, Joanna Barnes, Leonie Summers and Tony Mott are delighted to introduce PMSA Mentoring, which we set up to support PMSA student members, who are emerging sculptors, by pairing them with established mid-career sculptors.
The ‘Tim Shaw: Beyond Reason’ exhibition at the San Diego Museum of Art (20th October, 2018 – 24th February, 2019) gives the occasion for some reflections on his career as a sculptor.
The STAIR Project, is Harlow Art Trust’s exciting artist-in-residence programme, run in partnership with PMSA and the Royal College of Art (RCA). The programme involves educational workshops for local schoolchildren, which will be expanded to include tours of Harlow’s public sculpture. Residencies culminate in solo exhibitions at the Gibberd Gallery.
2017 | 2018 PMSA Marsh Award winners announced. The Awards Ceremony took place at the offices of Grosvenor, with each award being presented by HRH the Duke of Gloucester, the President of the PMSA.
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On 1 October, the PMSA launched its own label, PMSA Publishing, which will specialise in books on sculpture. Its first publication, Sculpting Art History: Essays in Memory of Benedict Read, edited by Katharine Eustace, Mark Stocker and Joanna Barnes, commemorates the celebrated art-historian, Benedict Read.
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Three 2018 PMSA Marsh Awards – for Excellence in Public Sculpture, for Excellence in Fountains, and for Excellence in Conservation respectively were made at a ceremony in central London on 6 November.
A statue of Queen Victoria with the attributes of Peace has been standing unrecognised for well over a century in Friary Park, Barnet
Dr Dawn Pereira, Post-Doctoral Henry Moore Fellow at the University of East London reveals the story behind the Winstanley Estate and sculptor, William Mitchell’s involvement.