The plinthing of a sculpture (image: A.Purkiss) allows it to be viewed as the sculptor intended, hopefully with the absolute minimum of visual clutter in the natural environment. Concrete plinths weather quickly, have similar constituents to the stone itself and are visually unobtrusive, especially once vegetation has softened the edges in contact with the ground surface. The proportions of the plinth to the sculpture will thus take a few months to feel ‘right’.
The naming of a sculpture and its material gives a lead in for viewers who need a cerebral prompt; questions are posed and forms and material are considered. Plaques or nameplates in the environment want to be minimal (and of materials which do not encourage levering off as a keepsake).
The acrylic plaques above – for the work at Hindhead – use a Gill Sans typeface and white on black seems to work well for contrast without looking too garish in landscape. Anything larger than 10x5cm, fixed on the vertical face of the shortest (sheltered) side of the plinth, looks too prominent and start to disrupt the view of the work.
The lottery-funded Hindhead A3D project is mentioned in the plaque above. The Rise of Northwood project block has involved over 1000 people in the process. How should they be referred to? Helpers? apprentices? passers-by?
It is important to create something succinct, which does not become an interpretive panel. Indeed, much like the role of the sculpture itself.