Maid of the Bridge

MOTB installation

In December 2018 we were pleased to finally see the installation and unveiling of a project that has taken 3 years to reach completion. Maid of the Bridge, a unique piece of public art conceived by Anna Gillespie, Bath based sculptor, and commissioned by developer Crest Nicholson was installed on the newly developed Riverside site in Bath to the great pleasure of the team who had worked on the project and of the local residents.

The sculpture was created from the puddled wrought iron bars from the original chains of the old adjacent Victoria Bridge which had been through a process of conservation and reconstruction in 2015.  The bridge was originally constructed in 1836, designed and built by local entrepreneur, James Dredge who was a brewer in Bath and designed the bridge to carry beer from his brewery across the river without using a ferry or having to detour through the city centre!

Local Council, Bath and North East Somerset and the developers were keen to use the original wrought iron in some way to show their recognition of the historical importance of this Grade II Listed structure and of the history of local industry in the area. Local sculptor Anna Gillespie has used much found metal in her previous works and she seemed a perfect choice to work with this idea.

The resulting piece of public art steeped in the site history was created by a collaborative of local companies from the city, bringing together art, history, heritage skills and engineering.  The  team included art consultant and curator, Peter Dickinson; international engineering company, Buro Happold, Ironart of Bath and Sculptor, Anna Gillespie. We all enormously enjoyed and respected the different skills each member of the team brought to the project and ultimately, our challenge was to find a way to use this old wrought iron to make a safe and durable piece of public art that was true to Anna’s original idea and drawings.

Maid of the Bridge is comprised of 172 sections of old wrought iron bar each carefully marked, drilled and tapped with 1398 spacers and 1116 fasteners, there had to be a trial assembly and then a final assembly once everything was correct. It was finally fitted to a very modern galvanised box section steel plinth, all coated with an HMG coach enamel system.

We were very proud to have worked on such a great project which celebrates heritage skills, respecting historical engineering and the industrial heritage of our city whilst also connecting the past to the future, embracing modern engineering skills and skilled hand-crafted work.

 Maid of the Bridge flows in the same direction as the flow of the river which is a nice touch as it has spent the last 182 years spanning the river and now she flows with it! If you fancy a visit to see her you will find her here.

  

The ‘Sun Flower’ Sculpture, Bathwick Hill

Andy and the team were up at the crack of dawn on Saturday 14th June to set up the spectacular ‘Sun Flower’ sculpture on the roundabout at the bottom of Bathwick Hill in the centre of Bath. The pictures we’ve blogged below tell the story of the sculpture installation. This is the culmination of months of hard work and preparation and we are all incredibly excited about it. We have been working closely with Bath and North East Somerset Council Parks & Grounds department to ensure this exciting new 4.7m high structure is on display for the 50th Anniversary of ‘Britain in Bloom’ in July. Striking pieces of public art always ignite a public reaction and with any luck this will get everyone talking…which is exactly the response we want. Join the debate on our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter @Ironart_of_Bath

Ironart Bathwick Hill Sunflower Sculpture 2014

The Sun Flower was conceived by Andy and hand made by the team here in Larkhall. Informed by his love of the natural world, geometry, and engineering, the design continues his exploration of forms and processes used in his everyday work as an architectural ironworker. “I had a completely open brief for this sculpture which wasn’t conceived as a literal manifestation of a sun flower but as an ‘’homage to the sun’, that universal force radiating its energy to us all. It represents life and growth, the fire we work with, an opportunity to fuse traditional skills with contemporary design”(Andy Thearle, Ironart of Bath)

Please spread the word……It’s FOR SALE! It’s anticipated that it will be in situ for 12 months. Ironart and BathNES Council are looking for a company or individual to secure it for the future within the City. The sculpture carries a price tag of £20,000 + vat, but is offered at £15,000 + vat by Ironart to secure it as a piece of public art for the city. Interested parties should contact the Ironart team on 01225 311 273.

More (really techie) information about the Sun Flower sculpture!

The Ironart Sun Flower stands 4.7m high x 4.5m at its widest point and weighs approximately 750kg. It was made in mild steel which has been galvanized. It stems from a 450mm base which is attached to 1800kg of underground ballast to stop it keeling over! The supporting legs are 70 x 20m rectangular sections which were cold rolled with ends that were tapered and scrolled in the forge. The legs are secured to the foundation metalwork by 2 no. M16 bolts per leg. The flame details are a combination of 50 x 10mm and 50 x 20mm sections which have been cold rolled then hand-shaped, with hot forged ends. The petals are constructed from 34mm heavy wall tube which were rolled, mitred and welded. Leg/flower connections have been made with 50 x 13mm metal collars with 3 no. M10 bolt fixings. Absolutely everything was done in the Ironart Larkhall workshop by our skilled team of artist blacksmiths with the exception of the cold rolled 70 x 20mm legs which we outsourced due to their size.
The legs are finished in a combination of Bronze Green and metallic paints from the Ardenbrite range. The stripes are in Light gold and Copper. The flower petals in Green Gold, the flames in Sovereign Gold.
The tricky installation was carried out by a team of five people, using a purpose-built 4.5m high gantry bolted to the foundations, with a block and tackle combined with good old fashioned man power and ingenuity!