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Tyne and Wear HER(11003): Newcastle, Newcastle University, 'Spiral Nebula' - Details

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Newcastle, Newcastle University, 'Spiral Nebula'



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1962 by Geoffrey Clarke. A grey painted steel spiral over 10m high. Next to the Herschel Physics Building. Commissioned by University of Newcastle upon Tyne. The piece was originally finished in shiny aluminium, but Basil Spence who designed the nearby Herschel Building, thought that it distracted attention from his building and so after a month it was flame blasted, waxed and painted grey {2}. Reasons for listing: artist - Geoffrey Clarke is a notable post-war sculptor. He exhibited at the Festival of Britain in 1951 and the Venice Biennale of 1952. He designed the high altar cross, candlesticks, a vast suspended crown of thorns and three nave windows in Coventry Cathedral. Aesthetic quality - a large bold sculpture which resembles an abstracted receiving dish, electrical coil and antenna apparently communing with outer space. Construction - Clarke pioneered a modern variation of the 'lost wax' method using shaped polystyrene moulds set in sand, which vaporised upon the casting of molten aluminium. Historic interest - his commission was from Sir Basil Spence, with whom Clarke worked at Coventry Cathedral. Contribution to public realm. LISTED GRADE 2




Art On the Riverside, Grainger Town Partnership, Arts Council England, Nexus and Newcastle City Council, Public Art in Newcastle - A Guide (booklet); Paul Usherwood, Jeremy Beach and Catherine Morris, 2000, Public Sculpture of North East England, p 142-3; Historic England, Advice Report, 25 July 2016, List Entry Number 1437126; A Tribute to Geoffrey Clarke RA; Geoffrey Clarke obituary and; Geoffrey Clarke biography; Marsh Award 2013; Marsh Christian Trust

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