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Westminster Abbey Armed Forces Memorial

steel, earth and incised stone lettering 
November 2008 

Notes on this work

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Armed Forces Memorial Design scheme for South cloister wall 

The Armed Forces Conflict Memorial installed 2008 in Westminster Abbey, takes the form of a text (adapted from that provided by the Armed Services Memorial committee) worked, the same way as the wire sculpture After Henry James, in welded steel so that the letters of which it is made support and strengthen each other in free space. With this structural interdependence and the presence of steel, the generic material of ordnance, a military metaphor is tacitly present. This is symbolically reinforced by the overall covering given to the metal which is made up from earth gathered world-wide (with the assistance of travelling friends) from various sites of conflict. These date from 1066 (Battle itself ) via Agincourt, the Somme and onwards to the present day. Fifteen such earth samples were mixed and ground together to make a pigment bound in colourless acrylic resin.

Thus, in an echo of Rupert Brooke’s famous poem, “some corner(s) of a foreign field” are brought to an appropriate place to indicate the long ancestry of national courage. The not unexpected resemblance in colour and granular texture to rust could be thought quietly to voice the artist’s hope of an ultimate peace.