The naming of a South Downs sculpture

2016 Northwood sculpture Jon Edgar web useThe sculpture at Slindon will be unveiled here on 17th February 2016 at noon as part of a family event.

The National Trust’s Rise of Northwood – the replanting of the majority of a historic woodland lost in the first and second world wars – was made possible by a bequest from John Springthorpe Hunt, who loved the South Downs. An unplanned sculpture has evolved, responding to people and place over 35 days during 14 months, the block being moved around the Slindon Estate to engage with visitors and involve them in the working process. In the early stages, I am interested in the block ‘opening up’ quite randomly so the forms subdivide as the block is turned a number of times. At about day 23 a stronger response gave a final direction and the later carvers acted as apprentices for the few minutes, or hours, they paused for.

Names for the block start to suggest themselves as the final forms develop; I have perhaps a hundred or more which did not quite work. The following are put forward for a final vote at the Forge, Slindon and on the day. You can reply to this post if you wish to cast your view, or book here if you would like to come along on the day to the free event.

The three names for consideration*:

Alluding to the thing which has influenced the stone most in the final imagery. And perhaps to the solidity of the block itself – a focal point amidst the blowing, growing leaves.

Alluding both to woodland growth and to the block’s process of change; also to activity with virtue (parental interaction, volunteering, nurturing, environmental concern, the intentions of the benefactor, the vision of the National Trust for both replanting and for art) Lastly a play on words, as not normally a descriptive term used for a particularly craggy block. The least recognisably descriptive, but giving most for viewers to think about beyond the outward appearance.

‘Heirs’ are young trees in old Sussex dialect. Alluding firstly to the forms of the trees (present and suggested), the Northwood bequest – from man to landscape – as well as to the father/son relationship, perhaps.

The published Sculptor’s Journal will be available later in the Spring, documenting and archiving the artistic process beneath the visible sculpture; the thoughts which have taken place and the discoveries of others’ activity in the area.

Jon Edgar is talking about sculpture projects (including Slindon, Petworth Marble, and the creation of a posthumous head of Capability Brown) to The Petworth Society at the Leconfield Hall, Petworth GU28 0AH 7.30pm on 17th Feb; £4 including refreshments.

*If you cannot see the work on site and would like to see more pictures of the sculpture now, please make contact.


2 thoughts on “The naming of a South Downs sculpture

  1. PLANTED as a name is firm and solid, and the word expresses the potential for growth.
    I do like the Sussex dialect word ‘Heirs’ in the context of this piece of work especially.
    Ancient Heirs?
    To those who took part in its working it will most likely be ‘Our Sculpture’…for generations to come…

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