This new public sculpture project links the 1960s Casson Block in St. Georges' Street with the sacral architecture of the nearby medieval Winchester Cathedral and the the long-demolished Saxon church of St. Ruald's which once stood on this site. The 2.5m high work also references the theme of water as it stands adjacent to the Upper Brook which formed part of the Roman drainage scheme of the River Itchen marshes. The artistic concept aims to make visible the hidden architectural heritage of Winchester and to put its more recent, modernist architecture into a new light. Like in many heritage towns, medieval buildings are in the limelight while contemporary additions are often overlooked and underestimated for their contribution to the urban landscape.
The Architect of the Casson Block, Sir Hugh Casson (1910-1999), was an influential and celebrated architect, artist and writer. The sculpture aims to mark his life and work as well as the achievements of Winchester's medieval master masons who remain unknown.
The sculpture Holmweard will be fabricated in repoussé sheet bronze (an ancient metal working technique rarely used today) and stainless steel and will be installed in summer 2017 to complete the public realm work on the Casson Block. The Anglo-Saxon word Holmweard translates as a warden by the sea or on a guard on an island in a river.