Public Art

Poet in the City is at the forefront of work in the field of poetry as public art.

Building on its extensive work in this area since 2008, the charity now runs a professional public art practice, working with architects, planners, landscape artists and local authorities. This work is resulting in some exciting new commissions in the built environment.

In 2015 Poet in the City, in partnership with Richmond Council, has created Pope’s Urn, a new sculpture forming part of the landscaping of Champions Warf on the Twickenham riverside. Celebrating the fact that Twickenham is hosting the Rugby World Cup this autumn, Poet in the City has been working with the Council to see how public art, inspired by poetry, might be used to enhance the town.

The new urn has been designed by award-winning architects Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios to celebrate Alexander Pope (1688-1744), one of England’s greatest poets and Twickenham’s most famous resident. It is based on an urn (since destroyed) which Pope himself designed for the garden of his friend at Hagley in the Midlands. Intimately connected with the history and identity of Twickenham, the urn represents an exciting and innovative approach to the design and commissioning of public art.

Standing just over eight-foot high, this stylish contemporary sculpture mirrors the shape of the original urn, and is a reminder of the poet’s great contributions to gardens and landscape design. The urn sculpture is made out of corten steel, which blends in with the red brick backdrop of the site. It is accompanied by some of Pope’s most famous quotes, carved into new curved wood seating and timber benches connecting new generations with his amazing legacy.

As well as the sculpture and seating, the landscaping of Champion’s Warf includes new granite paving, new trees and flower beds and a perennial flowering meadow, creating a beautiful new destination overlooking the river.

Isobel Colchester, Chief Executive of Poet in the City:

‘Poet in the City has been delighted to work with Richmond Council to create Pope’s Urn and accompanying seating carrying poetry on Champion’s Warf. It is a great way of celebrating the Rugby World Cup, and of leaving a permanent legacy for Twickenham. The response from local residents has been very positive indeed, and we hope that Pope’s Urn will soon become a much loved local landmark. This exciting contemporary sculpture also demonstrates the way in which poetry can inspire a bold new approach to public art.’

For more information or to discuss commissions please contact Graham Henderson, Public Art Consultant on or 07739 937 809