Sculpture plans to celebrate cathedral

Permanent artworks are being planned for Ripon to celebrate the 1350th anniversary of Ripon Cathedral in 2022.

Ripon-based charity Art in the Churches, which supports contemporary artists through commissions and making exhibition space available in and around churches, has been commissioned by Ripon Cathedral to produce an art event of national significance in the city.

“It will leave a legacy of three permanent public artworks in Ripon, in the Market Place, outside the West End of the Cathedral and on the A61, Boroughbridge Road roundabout,” said producer Chris Baily.

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“It will boost Ripon in many ways and help it play to its strengths as a tourist destination for art and heritage.”

The theme of the artwork is the founder of the Cathedral St Wilfrid and his life, travels and achievements, bringing revolutionary change to the dark ages, especially through the building of the cathedral.

“The objective is to bring Wilfrid out of the misty depths of time and show him in a modern context that people can relate to, and in a dynamic and exciting way,” added Mr Baily.

Professor Joyce Hill, a Lay Canon on the Chapter of Ripon Cathedral and leading historian on Anglo Saxon Britain, especially knowledgeable on Wilfrid, will be available to help the artists with their research and to provide insight.

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The planning application states: “The challenge for the artists will be to create works that people today can relate to, eg, presenting Wilfrid as our contemporary, while also depicting early medieval/Anglo Saxon England.

“It could be the basis for some interesting imagery. Artists could make reference to the art of the time, for instance, which had features including not using perspective, illuminated manuscripts etc, while blending this with the modern, technological times we now live in, thereby bridging time to bring Wilfrid into our modern world.

“Each artwork will reflect an aspect of Wilfrid’s life, such as his education in Lindisfarne, his travel to Rome, his nobility, his associations with kings, bishops and the pope etc, his sainthood, in all creating a story from one sculpture to the next.”

“The adopted Neighbourhood Plan, policy H2, aspires for new public artwork in Ripon,” added Mr Baily.

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The project plans are available at:

Public comment can be made on the Harrogate Council site until July 19.

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