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13 November 2014

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You are in: Wear > People > People Features > Final Journey to Durham

Fenwick Lawson and Journey

Fenwick Lawson and Journey

Final Journey to Durham

A Durham sculptor has paid tribute to the journey of St Cuthbert's coffin by having a bronze statue installed at Durham's Millennium Square.

If you see six monks with an open coffin in Durham's Millennium Square, do not fret, it is all in the name of art.

The bronze sculpture, which was installed on Monday 22 September 2008, pays tribute to the story of St Cuthbert's coffin.

It was taken from Lindisfarne, after the monks fled from a Danish invasion, and transported to different locations, ending in Durham around the end of the 10th Century.

The Journey on a truck

Making the final journey

The sculpture, named Journey, is the first public memorial to this story of Christian devotion and will remain at Durham's Millennium Square for all to see.

The man responsible for the work is Durham sculptor Fenwick Lawson, originally from South Moor in County Durham, whose other work includes the statue of St Cuthbert that stands on Holy Island.

Speechless

Fenwick saw the finished piece for the first time as it was being placed in its final resting place: "I'm speechless, there was a bit of excitement about seeing it in its location for the first time.

"The last time I saw it in the foundry it was bright metal being welded up. I didn't see it patternated and this is the final stage and I didn't see the final stage until now.

Fenwick helps the positioning

Fenwick helps the positioning

"It's a kind of baby, the piece has been born in privacy, and this piece has been carved in the quiet of the studio, if you like in the quiet of the studio and the stillness of the studio, to some extent it's being exposed and that exposure is a little bit nerve racking."

The 76-year-old sculptor admitted he may not have been able to do something like this 20 years ago: "I would have preferred, physically, to have been 56, but intellectually or in terms of the experience of the objectness of the object.

"If I talk about the sculpture, the sculpture is not just the narrative, it's how you give expression to the object. All of that language is evident through experience."

Intimate carving

Fenwick originally made a wooden sculpture but for its outdoor public display it had to be cast in bronze.

"I wanted it to have the character of the wood carving because this is a reproduction. The wood carving is the original, in one sense, the wood carving is my intimacy with material and I wanted the bronze to equate with that experience.

The Journey

Three of the six carriers

"All of that texture, surface and direction - it is about the sculpture."

Around £180,000 was raised by public subscription to commission the piece.

Journey was boarded up after completion in preparation for its official unveiling on Friday 26 September, 2008.

last updated: 24/09/2008 at 11:09
created: 24/09/2008

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