OCT 2017 Installation of Clipsham Frieze at St John’s College

PDF site visit 3 Oct 2017
PDF site visit 28 Sept 2017

After 3 years in preparation, installation works are currently in progress for the shallow relief by Susanna Heron for St John’s College Oxford. The artwork is located on both external and internal faces of the stone wall that forms the west side of the new Study Centre by Wright & Wright Architects. The carved external wall, 6 metres high and 17.4 metres long, faces the President’s Garden. It comprises three overlapping sections, which are stepped and separated by windows in the reveals. The relief is reversed on the corresponding face of the interior walls to the library and measures the same 17.4 metres length but with a reduced height of 3.7 metres. In total there are 772 stones with an average dimension of 600mm x 450mm and depths ranging between 100mm and 160mm.

The stone is being laid to an exact 3mm joint so that the levels of relief follow through. Each level has been cut in steps from 60mm to just 1mm, the joints being pointed to match the levels. For the exterior relief, Clipsham Frieze West, Heron took into consideration the way that rain might be directed over the stone with the idea that weathering would gradually adapt the artist’s drawing over a long period of time. The carved stone relief on the interior, Clipsham Frieze East, is more shallow and a mirror image to the exterior. The first two of seven courses have now been laid and shafts of morning light can be seen to fall across them through the rooflights above before moving outside to affect the west face.

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