Detail View: SHIMMER: Tudor Square Mosaics

Tudor Square Mosaics
Creation Date: 
Image Date: 
21st century
Sheffield, South Yorkshire
Display Creator: 
Image ID: 
Detail showing newly re-laid mosaics. Originally they were spread across the square between the Norfolk Street entrance and the Lyceum Theatre. The mosaics are composed of marble tesserae set into metal frames which are laid into the paving of the square. They vary in size and shape. The marks are unreadable, treated more like brush strokes which suggest movement and direction. In their original configurations the marks indicated areas of focus to give a sense of the site to the pedestrian. X-shaped marks indicated the Ruskin Gallery, the Crucible and the Lyceum Theatres. A collection of lines in front of the Lyceum were placed to indicate a potential performance area. This original meaning has been lost. Commission: Sheffield City Council, funded by the J.G.Garves Charitable Trust. Most of the original artworks and landscape design of the 1991 Tudor Square development were removed when the space was re-designed (2009-2010). The only artworks retained were these paving mosaics by Sue Mason (now Sue DISLEY), which were were re-sited close together near the door to the Crucible Studio, and the Boulsover Monument by Richard PERRY. Comment: Written on the creation of the original Square as an artwork in 1991: "Tudor Square is a recent invention. It had been an unfocused open space, oddly left between buildings of civic pride and purpose. The space had long been used as a car park. Creation of a square was undertaken when the city took stock of its image prior to the World Student Games in 1991. It was conceived as an arts square. This focus was sensible as the space opened up on all sides to buildings where performances, exhibitions, entertainment took place. The restoration of the Lyceum Theatre was already under consideration. Tudor Square is not a square in the sense of it being an open space of that shape. It is actually a grassed oval which, on a sloping site, creates a flat stage for performances, for displays, for strolling round. The oval is bound by a low stone wall upon which a very intricately placed sequence of marks are carved. Paul Mason, Lead Artist for the project, has said that what was "fundamental to all the practices (in the area) was communication" and that "mark making was fundamental to communication". This became the aesthetic for the square. Marks by which man communicates are found not only on the wall, but form the basis of the design for the tree grilles and railings also in the square. Into the pavement Sue Mason has also set a number of fluid marks. These mosaics were to help orientation in the square. At the Graves Gallery end, a bronze memorial to Thomas Boulsover was placed. Lastly, though invisible from the square, a stairwell of stained glass was commissioned for the Lyceum. "A plaque on the Central Library building in the square directs attention to Tudor Square's distinctiveness. 'The stone wall, mosaics, railings and tree grilles celebrate early signs and symbols of communication amongst people. From such marks all cultures developed different alphabets and languages.' It is interesting that the dynamics of the site are indicated by extraordinarily subtle work. Because the mosaics keep the natural colours of the quarried marble, the pale beauty of the individual tesserae is difficult to see. They are indeed, as the artist describes, "little elements set in a larger area". " Text taken from 'Going Public' by Dr Elizabeth Norman, 1995.
© Sheffield Hallam University
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Related Information: 
Public art in Sheffield. For more information see < >.
Photographed by: 
Dave Ball
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Culture Gender: 
Subject Heading: 
Urban renewal -- England -- Sheffield
Subject Heading: 
City squares -- England -- Sheffield
Subject Heading: 
Landscape design -- England -- Sheffield
Subject Heading: 
Subject Heading: 
Signs and symbols