The Barnwell Sentence

Completed: 2014 Client: Berkeley Homes Eastern Counties Artist: Lucy Skaer
Location: Cambridge Riverside
Services: Art in the Public Realm, Embedded Arts, Residential

A 100 metre ‘sentence’ of bronze, brass, glass and stone sculpture winding its way through the Cambridge Riverside public realm, leaving clues to the story of this place.

The Barnwell Sentence starts at the site’s entrance on Newmarket Road with a 30 metre x 3 metre Atlantic Lava stone wall, cut from one stone block, and embedded with imagery made from Belgium Blue fossil limestone and Blue Savoy marble. The wall depicts a pictographic language about the history and heritage of this site: prehistoric archaeology (here a life-sized whale skeleton similar to that lovingly serving the entrance to Cambridge’s Museum of Zoology), Strawberry Fair on neighbouring Midsummer Common, and a blazer and the crest of Brunswick Junior School, who brought this site to life throughout the 20th century. All are held together by the of imprints made from a domestic chair; a playful alphabet arrangement alluding to the chair’s role in our public and domestic life.

The Barnwell Sentence continues along the pavement of the scheme as a series of embedded brass chair imprints, leading you to into the development to discover two more sculptures: Carp fish from the monks ponds of the 11th century Barnwell Prior nearby,  swimming in the paving, frozen in time as bronze sculptures set in clear resin and glass.

The final sculpture is a life size bronze chair; the very chair used to create the imprints that run throughout the sentence.  Residents and visitors are welcome to sit and enjoy the chair all year round.

The chair theme of the Barnwell Sentence is continued in the other public art sculpture on this site: Playful Seating for Midsummer Lawn by artist James Hopkins.

In 2009, I created my first ‘chair print’, as I was interested in the way that a recognisable object could also be made to mimic an unknown language.

Lucy Skaer.

London

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Cambridge CB1 7GX

Sydney

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