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Paolozzi mosaics in original location at Tottenham Court Road tube

University of Edinburgh to stick Paolozzi tube mosaics back together

Mosaic fragments designed by Eduardo Paolozzi for Tottenham Court Road tube station are set to be re-assembled in Edinburgh, the artist’s home city.

The pieces formed decorative arches over the escalators leading down to the platforms and were part of Paolozzi’s celebrated comprehensive design scheme for the station which was created in 1984.

As part of the station renovation works, Transport for London (TfL) demolished the arches and the pieces were set to be binned. In a bid to rescue the fragments and find them a new home, the Twentieth Century Society contacted the University of Edinburgh Art Collection which is already home to around 150 pieces by the artist.

We are delighted that following an agreement with TfL, the University will now acquire the pieces which will be reassembled by students and used for conservation training.

Henrietta Billings, Senior Conservation Adviser, Twentieth Century Society said: “It is great to see these Paolozzi mosaics given a new lease of life by the University of Edinburgh. Our preference would of course have been for Transport for London to have retained the arches on site where they were designed as part of a co-ordinated scheme throughout the station platforms and concourse areas. They could have been integrated into the upgrade scheme for the station had this been a desired objective from the outset, but this was not pursued.

However we are very pleased that they will once again be on public display – and re-erected as a major conservation project and celebration of Paolozzi’s work. The processes developed will also inform the future conservation of other works of post war public art, many of which remain at risk.”

Sir Eduardo Paolozzi (1924-2005) was one of Britain’s most prolific artists and sculptors of the twentieth century. Knighted in 1989, he was a Royal Academician and Her Majesty’s Sculptor-in-Ordinary for Scotland. Over 350 works including sculptures and art works are in the Tate gallery collection.

A total of 27 works are housed in the Scottish National Gallery of Scotland and his work is also owned by the Government Art Collection, the Guggenheim Collection in Venice, Italy, and the Museum of Modern Art Collection, New York.

Well known works by Paolozzi include his mosaics at the Kingfisher Shopping Centre, Redditch (1981-2) and his giant bronze statue, ‘Newton’ after William Blake (1995) outside the British Library in central London.

The mosaics at Tottenham Court Road station were commissioned in 1980 by London Transport and completed in 1984.

About The Twentieth Century Society

The Twentieth Century Society is a membership organisation which campaigns for the conservation of the best C20th architecture. It was founded in 1976 as the Thirties Society and is now recognised by government and has a statutory role in the planning process. For more details, see our website, www.c20society.org.uk.

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