Royal Holloway, University of London – Founder’s railings in placeThursday, 26 May 2016
Central to Founder’s Court, Royal Holloway College University of London is a statue of Thomas and Jane Holloway. The college was one of eight women’s colleges founded in England during the period 1869-1886, the only one outside Oxford or Cambridge. Designed by W. H. Crossland, the central coutryards of the college are grade I listed. A new railing by MBA subtly protects and illuminates the sculpture.
The statue is by Count Gleichen (1833-1891) who sculpted this and the corresponding statue of Queen Victoria in the northern court. Gliechen constructs his sculpture on a large base, with muses at the corners, in a baroque fashion, with a series of swags and scrolls at 45 degrees to the man axis, the corners of the base set out as ʻcircles within squaresʼ. This geometry has informed the setting out of the proposed railing.
The railing is designed to prevent casual access to the sculpture – a beer mug used to appear in the founder’s right hand from time to time – whilst offering good and safe circulation around. It designates ‘protected space’, performing a similar function to a rope or rail at an art gallery. The rail houses eight up-lights which give optimal subtle illumination to the sculpture whilst making the barrier visible at night.