Public art in the Vale

In recent years the Arts Development team has worked hard to secure many pieces of public art for the Vale. Many of these have been provided through the Percent for Arts scheme, which encourages developers of large new building schemes to make a contribution to a local arts project. For more information about the Percent for Art scheme see Public art commissioning in Oxfordshire  (downloads section of this page).

Examples of public art in the Vale:

  • Chapel Close mosaic, Wantage
  • Thamesview bridge, Abingdon
  • Bespoke railings - Maltings Vineyard, Abingdon
  • "The Abingdon Needle" - Abbey Close, Abingdon
  • Sculptures - Merchants Place, Abingdon
  • "As old as the Hills" - Folly Park, Faringdon
  • "Abingdon A" - Neave Mews, Abingdon
  • "Couple" - Yoplait Dairy development, Grove
  • "Voices from the Brook" - Smiths Yard, Wantage
  • "Barrel" - Brewery, Oct Street, Abingdon
  • Glasswork and mosaic - White Horse Tennis and Leisure Centre, Abingdon
  • "Crossing the Line" - Tilsley Park, Abingdon
  • "St Mary's Poetry and Sculpture Trail (1.3 MB) PDF " - Wantage

Chapel Close mosaic, Wantage
Persimmon Homes and the Council worked together to commission the artist Rob Turner to create this unique and characterful mosaic for Chapel Close, Wantage, creating this memorable and distinct work of art within the heart of a new community. A series of workshops and talks were held in Wantage Library, where Rob listened to local peoples ideas for the site. The results of these workshops were five designs for a mosaic feature on the pathway in communal green space. The final design was chosen by local residents and represents Wantage's prominent location on the Ridgway, referencing important landmarks such as Uffington Castle, Wayland Smith and the White Horse Hill.

Thamesview bridge, Abingdon

Artist Richard Farrington was commissioned to design and create this unique and interesting feature integrated within the new bridge across the mill stream at the Thamesview development, Abingdon. The bronze panels relate to the ancient (8th/9th century) silver sword found in the River and now housed in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. The sword itself was found in the mid 19th century, in the river nearby were the bridge now stands and loaned to The Ashmolean Museum by Abingdon Town Council. Richard Farrington took inspiration from the motifs carved into the handle of sword and created the beautiful bronze cast inserts for the bridge. These foliate design on the outside of the bridge were based on the acanthus leaf, Celtic creatures more figurative patterns were found on the other side of the sward and presents the early evangelists and are depicted on the inner panels of the bridge.

Bespoke railings - Maltings Vineyard, Abingdon
Nationally renowned blacksmith artist Jon Mills was commissioned by Persimmon Homes, in partnership with the Council's Arts Development Service, to design bespoke railings for the back wall of the Maltings Vineyard development, by the cycleway behind Waitrose. The railings were designed to reflect the character and history of Abingdon. They have enhanced the local environment and added a point of interest for shoppers, visitors and residents alike.

"The Abingdon Needle" - Abbey Close, Abingdon
The Abingdon Needle is a bath stone spire topped with stainless steel situated near the entrance to Abbey Grounds. The spire represents the turned spire of the Anglo Saxon church that stood on the site centuries before the Abbey was built. The stainless steel cap acknowledges Abingdon's close link with modern and new technologies past and present. The sculpture is the work of public artist Michael Fairfax, who was commissioned to design a landmark feature to celebrate the 450th anniversary of Abingdon's town charter. This artwork was funded by Abingdon Joint Environmental Trust - which is jointly funded by the District Council and Abingdon Town Council together with contributions from a developer of new houses near the site.

Sculptures - Merchants Place, Abingdon
KingsOak Homes made a contribution for public art on the site of Vintners Place, Abingdon, and worked with the Vale to commission local sculptor Diana Bell to create a series of sculptures designed to reflect the many industries that have been indigenous in the town. The art works that were unveiled included a stone bench with a bronzed apron realistically draped on one end as though left behind by a worker and a large barley-filled sack and a pair of boots. The larger relief in bronze, set into the pavement, represents the many different trades and past times that have taken place on the site which include a stable, tannery, leather glove manufacture, machinery relating to the Penlon's medical instrument making, and barley and hops growing - all of which played a significant role in Abingdon's industrial heritage.

"As old as the Hills" - Folly Park, Faringdon
Michie Herbert, a local artist from Great Coxwell, was appointed to work with Faringdon Junior School on the Arts Project in February 2004 and commissioned to produce a sculpture for the park. Work with the school was very successful with a total of 40 children aged between 7 and 11 attending a special week long project based on looking at nature and the environment.

"Abingdon A" - Neave Mews, Abingdon
This sculpture, by Philip Bews and Diane Gorvin, was commissioned by Lovell and the Council under the Percent for Art scheme. It is a A 3.7 metre high A shape sculpture made of Portland stone, which is topped with glass shell finials. The flowing space between the stone pillars represents the river Thames and is lit by a blue light at night. The integral oak seating follows the curved edge of an eight metre diameter circular paved area. Carved on one side of the stone `A¿ are several circular reliefs based on themes relevant to the site, from ammonites to a cinema reel, by way of the circle and dot pattern found on a medieval piece of bone and a Saxon brooch. Viewed from their north side, the stone forms suggest two figures, and each has a bronze face recessed near the apex, like the gargoyles in the Abbey. These bronze masks represent Hean and Cilla - the brother and sister who founded the Abbey. The glass shell forms at the apex illustrate the ancient underwater geology of the site.

"Couple" - Yoplait Dairy development, Grove
Created by artist Johannes Von Stumm, Couple was made from nearly 1.6 tons of bronze and stands 2.4 metres high and 2.4 metres wide. It was developed by the Council in collaboration with Berkeley Homes for the new residential development on the old dairy site in Grove. It is located between the children's play area and the bridge over the brook that leads to Grove Health Centre.

"Voices from the Brook" - Smiths Yard, Wantage
This piece of arts was created by Steve Geliot and was commissioned by the Council in collaboration with Barrett Homes specifically for the new residential development in Wantage of Letcombe Park.

"Barrel" - Brewery, Oct Street, Abingdon
This work was commissioned by the Council in partnership with the developers Berkeley Homes (Oxford & Chiltern) Ltd through the Percent for Art Policy. Barrel, created by Walter Jack, is a sculpture made of seven identical iron planks welded together. A pattern for the planks was created using a single piece of ashwood, band-sawn and gouged, and later cast in iron. The work weighs nearly one and a half tons and stands four metres high, and is spot lit at night. This strong contemporary work stands in a paved open space and rises from the ground. Its curved form gently references the traditional shape of beer barrels, which would have been used at the old Brewhouse and Malthouse, the two buildings which formally occupied the site.

Glasswork and mosaic - White Horse Tennis and Leisure Centre, Abingdon
Glasswork by Jane MacDonald, and mosaic by Michael Gamble and Susan Wenyon were commissioned for the new White Horse Tennis and Leisure Centre in Abingdon which opened in July 2002.

"Crossing the Line" - Tilsley Park, Abingdon
Artist Robert Kilvington designed and created this sculpture for the entrance to the sports centre which was opened in 1997. The gateway is made from 50mm 316 grade stainless steel tube and is 7.5 metres high with a centre circle of 2.5 metres diameter.

Last reviewed: 30 - 06 - 2016

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