Explore Exeter's Sculpture

Explore Exeter's Sculpture

Exeter’s Sculpture and Art

Welcome to the public sculpture trail which guides you through Exeter’s interesting and diverse public sculptures and art.

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Exeter's Sculpture Map

1.Mechanical bird, Exeter Phoenix, Gandy Street

1.Mechanical bird, Exeter Phoenix, Gandy StreetMechanical bird, Exeter Phoenix, Gandy Street

1.Mechanical bird, Exeter Phoenix, Gandy Street
(Stop 1 of 13)

Created in 1999 to celebrate the Devon and Exeter Arts, Gandy Street becoming the Exeter Phoenix, this sculpture was designed with hydraulics which enable it to rattle into life every hour.

From the Phoenix turn round and head back down the hill and turn left. Walk along Gandy Street towards the town centre. Turn left on to the High Street and walk past Urban Outfitters shop. Turn around outside the White Company shop and look upwards at the side of the Urban Outfitters building.

2. Relief Sculpture at Urban Outfitters, Exeter High Street

2. Relief Sculpture at Urban Outfitters, Exeter High StreetMural at Urban Outfitters, Exeter High Street by Alexandre Farto

2. Relief Sculpture at Urban Outfitters, Exeter High Street
(Stop 2 of 13)

Designed by the internationally renowned Portuguese graffiti/street artist Alexandre Farto, this relief sculpture was specially commissioned by Urban Outfitters to celebrate the opening of its new store.

Born in 1987 Alexandre Farto studied at Central St Martin's. Known for his dramatic, oversized portraits which he creates by carving directly into outdoor walls. He often uses industrial techniques such as controlled explosions and drilling. This work was created by first painting the design on to the wall then chiselling away the design.

His subjects are ordinary people who he meets briefly in the city or town in which he is working. He enjoys elevating the ordinary person into an icon.

Walk past the White Company shop and continue along the High street on the same side until you reach the silver Riddle Sculpture which is situated just outside Jones the shoe shop.

3. Riddle Sculpture, High Street, Exeter

3. Riddle Sculpture, High Street, ExeterRiddle Statue, Exeter High Street by Michael Fairfax

3. Riddle Sculpture, High Street, Exeter
(Stop 3 of 13)

Created by the artist Michael Fairfax this sculpture was commissioned in 2005 as part of a major refurbishment of the high street. Taking a triangular form the stainless steel panels alternate with verses from the Exeter riddles a book of verses which dates from 960 AD. This book is the earliest known example of Anglo Saxon poetry in existence. The verses have been translated into modern English and were engraved onto the panels in reverse so that they could be read the right way up in the opposite panel. The answer to the riddle is to be found engraved upon a stainless steel sphere between the panels.

The Exeter Riddle book is kept in Exeter Cathedral's library and is incomplete, having been used in the medieval period as a carpenter's chopping block. The verses chosen for this work were carefully chosen as many in the book were very long or obscene.

Continue along the High street on the same side until you reach the pedestrian sculpture which is found just outside of Boots.

4. Pedestrian Sculpture, Boots High Street

4. Pedestrian Sculpture, Boots High StreetPedestrian Sculpture by Carole Vincent

4. Pedestrian Sculpture, Boots High Street
(Stop 4 of 13)

Commissioned by Devon County Council to commemorate the year of the pedestrian. This sculpture is by Cornish artist Carole Vincent. Since 1989 when it was placed in the high street it has become a symbol of Exeter and has been given the nick name of the 'Wibbly Wobby people'. It was removed in 2003 to allow for the High Streets refurbishment and was reinstated in 2005 by popular demand.

Cross over and take the road almost directly opposite between Next and Starbucks to make your way to the next sculpture on Princesshay Lane.

5.The Exeter Phoenix, Princesshay Lane, Exeter

5.The Exeter Phoenix, Princesshay Lane, ExeterThe Exeter Phoenix

5.The Exeter Phoenix, Princesshay Lane, Exeter
(Stop 5 of 13)

This relief of a Phoenix rising from the flames represents Exeter's rebuilding following the blitz of April and May 1942. Hughes Garage commissioned the work in 1957 for a new building in the centre of Princesshay on the site of their previous building.

6.The Universal Pilgim Statue, Southernhay

  • The Universal Pilgim Sculpture, Southernhay

6.The Universal Pilgim Statue, Southernhay
(Stop 6 of 13)

This sculpture is by the local artist David Holland. It was carved in 2015 as a reaction to his experience of violence and inhumanity. The work was gifted to Exeter by the artist in response to the work carried out by Councillor Suaad George into equalities.

The next sculpture is located immediately on the wall of the car park behind this sculpture.

7. Princesshay Car Park- Silver Leaves Sculpture

7. Princesshay Car Park- Silver Leaves SculpturePrincesshay Car park Sculpture-Silver Leaves Studio Roso

7. Princesshay Car Park- Silver Leaves Sculpture
(Stop 7 of 13)

This beautiful work sits on the curved wall of the Princesshay car park and spans 30ft in height. It was commissioned by Land Securities and Exeter City Council to commemorate the Queens diamond jubilee visit to Exeter in May 2012. The work was created by international artist's Studio Roso who draw inspiration the works future location.
This work of 450 stainless steel mirrored silver leaves takes inspiration from a Beech tree which stood close by before its removal due to a fungal infection.

Turn around and head back the way you came and continue on into Princesshay shopping centre.

8. The Blue Boy Statue, Princesshay, Exeter

8. The Blue Boy Statue, Princesshay, Exeter

8. The Blue Boy Statue, Princesshay, Exeter
(Stop 8 of 13)

This statue originally stood in Princesshay where the St John Hospital School originally stood. It was removed as part of the new development of Princesshay shopping centre. Due to public demand and affection for the statue it was reinstated for the opening in 2007.
It is thought that the original statue was made around 1632 at or soon after the founding of the St John's Hospital School. It is from this original statue that four cast iron blue boys were made in 1859/1860 when the school room at the St John's Hospital School was rebuilt. These casts are smaller than the original at 3ft 6 inches (1.06 metres high). The school was closed in July 1931, following the closure two of the statues were displayed in the hall of the Vicar's Choral, South Street and two disappeared. Following the destruction of the Vicar's Choral in 1942 in the blitz, the statues were rescued and taken to a building owned by the hospital trust in Upton Pyne, Clyst St Lawrence. The two statues which disappeared were found in a builder's yard. It is thought that the blue boy in Princesshay is one of the lost builder's yard statues.

9. Hope and Despair, Bampfylde Lane

9. Hope and Despair, Bampfylde Lane
(Stop 9 of 13)

Standing outside Urban Outfitters in Princesshay, looking up you will see two sculptures. These works like Blueboy have been relocated to their present position from Bedford Street. They were sculpted by Darsie Rawlins (1912-2003), mainly known for his ecclesiastical works, he was also a letter cutter in the Arts and Crafts tradition. A slow and painstaking worker, he worked in his studio 7 days a week. He mainly cut in stone, but also used wood, bronze and bronze resin. The figure on the right is shown in despair with hands covering her head with her hands in despair at the bombing of the city. Whilst the second figure portrays hope, holding a torch to help guide towards a new future.

10. In Memory May 1942, Roman Walk, Exeter

10. In Memory May 1942, Roman Walk, Exeter
(Stop 10 of 13)

This work was commissioned as a memorial to the 1942 bombing of Exeter city centre and was designed by Roger Dean. It is formed from a curved stainless steel inset with two highly detailed bronze reliefs which were created from photographic records of the city which were taken the day after the bombardment of Exeter. The front relief panel was part of an original fountain by Roger which was a feature of the original Princesshay. As part of the redevelopment it was found that the fountain needed to be removed. This allowed Roger to revisit his original design and create a new contemporary response to the theme.

10. Glow Stones, Bedford Street, Exeter

10. Glow Stones, Bedford Street, ExeterGlow Stones by Jeff Bell

10. Glow Stones, Bedford Street, Exeter
(Stop 11 of 13)

These glass 'Pebble Seats' by Jeff Bell are found in Princesshay Square. They were inspired by Exeter's historic wall and its weather beaten bricks. These stones are made from stacked glass planes. They have been placed to reveal new sight lines through the square helping to direct the eye towards Exeter's historic cathedral.

By night this work takes on a completely different feel. The works are illuminated from within and gradually change with a gentle kaleidoscope of colours.

11. Marking Time, Catherine Street

11. Marking Time, Catherine Street
(Stop 12 of 13)

This work by Patricia MacKinnon-Day, BDP Lighting and Livingston Eyre Landscape Architects. Interprets the historic medieval alms-houses. Placed in situ are freestanding glass doors in the exact location of the buildings original doors. Within the doors are held archaeological finds from the site. Other elements from the installation are flickering votive lights in the space of the chapel and also texts etched into the pavement from the historic Chapter Act Books which describes the lives of the people who lived there.

12. Richard Hooker, Cathedral Yard

12. Richard Hooker, Cathedral Yard

12. Richard Hooker, Cathedral Yard
(Stop 13 of 13)

Statue of Richard Hooker (1553-1600) writer and theologian.

Sculpted by Alfred Drury ARA (1856-1944). Drury was an architectural sculptor. The work was based on a portrait by a Flemish artist, held in the National Portrait Gallery and cost £1000 guineas. It was unveiled following a service at Exeter cathedral on October 25th, 1907 by the Bishop of Exeter.

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My Explore Exeter's Sculpture Notes

Explore Exeter's Sculpture

Explore Exeter's Sculpture

Exeter’s Sculpture and Art

Welcome to the public sculpture trail which guides you through Exeter’s interesting and diverse public sculptures and art.

Exeter’s Sculpture and Art
Welcome to the public sculpture trail which guides you through Exeter’s interesting and diverse public sculptures and art.

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