Friday, 14 November 2008

Armed Forces Memorial at Westminster Abbey

On Wednesday 29th October at Westminster Abbey a memorial designed by Tom Phillips to those killed on duty in the armed forces since the Second World War was unveiled by the Princess Royal.
You can read about the making of the work at the artist's blog.

In an artist's statement Tom Phillips explains:
This memorial takes the form of a text (adapted from that provided by the Armed Services Memorial committee) worked 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.

Framing the metal sculpture and beginning similarly with the all important word 'remember' is the motto of the Armed Services Memorial Appeal carved into the fabric of the Abbey itself, a stone that is the same as that used throughout the world by the War Graves Commission. The carving is made as deep as is practicable to catch the maximum amount of defining shadow.

Thus the services and their dead are memorialised in bonded steel camouflaged in the earth of battle with a surrounding call to remembrance marked in sanctified stone.

Follow these links to see how the event was reported.
Westminster Abbey
BBC News
ITN News
This is London
Mail on Sunday
Choice FM
This is Nottingham