Observatories

Online / Print.
Commissioned by the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trust.
June – September 2020

Do you have a favourite view of the Wye Valley?

Inspired by Bruce Allan's 1988 sculpture 'Observatory' which was part of the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail from 1988 - 2014, artist Rich White developed a project called Observatories.

During lockdown the project aimed to engage with audiences to imagine the views and locations they couldn’t currently access around the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley.

Referencing Bruce Allens contemplative call to 'stand and stare' Rich asked members of the public to submit photographs of their favourite view of the area along with a short explanation of why the view is important to them.

Rich then used the images and information to inspire a series of theoretical and fantastical towers designed to make us think about how we look at these landscapes and to help us imagine ourselves placed somewhere else, somewhere impossible.

Download a PDF with all the submissions, Observatories designs, information about the project, and pages to print out and design your own here.

Photo: Rich White

The Forest of Dean. I love these breaks in the tree cover where the sun comes streaming in.

As an homage to Bruce Allan’s original sculpture this Observatory mimics the staircase, but as a shaft of sunlight.

Photo: Stewart Carswell

The River Severn from ‘close to the Roman Temple at Littledean. I like the symmetry of the large sweeping meander at this point.’

The Observatory consists of two symmetrical, sweeping arcs.

Photo: Jenny Cashmore

The view 'between Redbrook and Bigsweir Bridge where the Welsh/English border runs directly along the centre of the river.'

The Observatory is made of two subtly different halves that meet at the border with a gateway.

Photo: Steve Gaskin

The view from New Fancy provides you with a 'full 360 degree view over the Forest.' The images are the 'best views East and West.'

The Observatory spans both views in a circle, allowing for an optimum panorama.

Photo: Heather Wright

Standing on Brockweir Bridge. ‘The rich tones and curvaceous quality of the trees give a sense of comfort and calmness.’

The Observatory is supported by a geodesic sphere - a curved shape made from straight lines - and encloses the trees.

Photo: David Broadbent

I invited professional photographer and photography trainer David Broadbent to submit his favourite views.

Here’s his image from Symonds Yat Rock, taken whilst leading a photography group on a dawn shoot. ‘This spot is about the WOW factor of seeing the whole bend in the River Wye’.

The circular Observatory emphasises the sweeping curve of the river.

Photo: Matt Nightingale

FoD Sculpture Trail at Beechenhurst. 'This view stopped me in my tracks. The backdrop of fir trees made me think of a stage with the younger plants performing in the wind for the onlookers of the elders behind.'

The Observatory takes the form of a low, wide platform, perhaps for performing on as well?

Photo: Frances Davis

Symonds Yat in FoD. 'Breathtaking' and makes you 'stand in awe'.

The Observatory's many steps will add to your breathlessness, but the view will be rewarding.

Photo: Shadowed Eyes

'Sneaking up on the Severn'. He chose this image, taken from Eagle's Nest viewpoint, because of its 'grand view of two great rivers'.

The Observatory has two platforms to provide a stunning, unique view of each river.

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Updated 30 September 2020

Sculpture by Rich White (cc) by-nc-sa 2020
Site by design