Veronica Ryan Sculpture Stolen For Scrap Metal

Veronica Ryan

‘Boundaries’ a work by a Tate collection artist follows Moore Hepworth and Blake to the smelter

Police are on the lookout for a gang of metal thieves after a two valuable bronze sculptures worth tens of thousands of pounds were stolen from a Peterborough sculpture park. The sculptures were based on the forms of cheese plant  leaves, creating a challenging relationship with the green surroundings of Thorpe Meadows and the verdigris work of art. The sculptures were taken on 3 January from the city’s Sculpture Park, which contains 16 other pieces of art some on a monumental scale.The Trust was set up in 1988 by the Peterborough Development Corporation. Under the New Towns Act, the Corporation itself was set up in 1968 with the task of overseeing the expansion of the City and as part of this it sought to encourage an appreciation of the arts, purchasing a selection of sculptures by major British artists between 1978 and 1988 for permanent public display throughout the City. Pc Craig Farrington said: “It is a distinctive sculpture, very heavy and thieves would have needed transport to take it away.”

Veronica Ryan is best known for her sculpture. She has worked largely with marble donated by the Hepworth Estate, creating a number of sculptural works, two of which are owned by Tate (Quoit Montserrat 1998, Tate T07770 and Mango Reliquary 2000, Tate T07771). Her drawings are not a great departure from the sculptural works, however. The shapes of the painted sections echo the forms of the seeds and pods that feature in many of Ryan’s sculptures, as well as referring to Hepworth’s sculptural forms. The masking of the photographic images also reaffirms Ryan’s concern with wrapping or hiding elements that is typical of her sculptures (as in Relics in the Pillow of Dreams 1985, Tate T06530). Ryan sees these drawings, with their photographic basis and biographical connections, as having a more distinct narrative thread than her sculptural pieces.
Ryan studied at St.Albans, Bath Academy of Art, the Slade School of Art and the School for Oriental and African Studies and has had solo shows at the ICA, London and Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge. The Corporation’s aim was to create a reference point in time for future generations growing up in the new City, relating the artistic activity and aims of the best British sculptors working at the time with the architectural style and planning during the period of expansion Peterborough Sculpture Trust was set up to carry on this work and owns all of the sculptures bought by the Corporation. They have a programme of educational and development work to further enhance the appreciation and provision of the arts in Peterborough, continuing to add new works by the best of today’s sculptors. They also offer a consultancy service enabling local businesses and developments to more easily commission new works with the benefits of our years of experience.

There are now 26 pieces in the trust’s permanent collection, plus other works on loan from artists and other organisations. Most are situated on sites developed by the Corporation, in shopping centres, old persons housing and public parks. Recent additions to the collection include Cormorant by Elizabeth Cooke, A Spire by Renn & Thacker and People by Tolleck Winner.


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