Smith fecit

February 2015: On the recommendation of Marianne Forrest (the artist) I contacted Smith of Derby, who installed Adagio in the Phil back in 1995.  On 18th Feb Jim Foster and Kevin Litchfield from Smith of Derby came over to see Adagio and our proposed location for her.  I was excited to discover that Kevin was the project manager for both the construction and original installation of Adagio. He pronounced that it was still in good condition in The Friary, and that he could see no insuperable problems in re-installing it in the HCL Reading Room.  We are awaiting his quote for doing this work.

This is a very promising development, although it still seems likely that we will need a bit more funding, so our search for that must continue.


A new date

January 2015: Discussions with the Librarian indicate that the next real opportunity to do the necessary work in the HCL Reading Room is in June.  The Easter vacation is not a good time, because the library is open all hours in the period up to the main exams.  This gives us a bit of time to solve our various problems. And solve them we will!

Phil Sykes and I have investigated a couple of potential sources of further funding.  However the project does not seem to fall within the remit of either the Wolfson Foundation, or the Heritage Lottery Fund.

I was particularly disappointed to find that art works do not feature in the Heritage Lottery Fund’s remit.  Their rubric is:

We fund projects which focus on heritage. Heritage includes many different things from
the past that we value and want to pass on to future generations, for example: archaeological sites; collections of objects, books or documents in museums, libraries or archives; cultural traditions such as stories, festivals, crafts, music, dance and costumes; historic buildings; histories of people and communities; histories of places and events; the heritage of languages and dialects; natural and designed landscapes and gardens; people’s memories and experiences (often recorded as ‘oral history’); places and objects linked to our industrial, maritime and transport history; and natural heritage including habitats, species and geology.

Missed the window!

December 2014: By the tender deadline we had no bids from contractors to re-install the sculpture, but just one came in a week or so later.  It rather shocked me, adding up to a total of almost £17,000.  So, since there is a funding gap of about £5,000 between what we currently have and this cost, and also because it is now only a week to the Christmas vacation, we have had to accept that the installation will be delayed.  This means that we have also missed the window of opportunity to bring the large parts of Adagio in via the window gaps while the HCL is refurbished.

However I have now measured the size of the opening in the new windows and it is (just) large enough to accept the long (9.2m, remember) central component.  All is not lost.

We must now either (or preferably both) raise a bit more money or/and find a way of doing the re-installation more cheaply.


This is one of the candidate windows. It opens to the horizontal, giving quite a large opening.

Can we install before Christmas?

October 2014: It would be ideal if we could install Adagio during the Christmas vacation and we have a tentative date of 22nd December for moving the components into the Library via one of the window openings.  The scaffold erected by the contractors who are refurbishing the library should still be there, and the disruption to students will be minimal over Christmas.  We now need quickly to obtain a quotation from a contractor to do the installation.

IMG_1010 HCL4

Outside views of the Harold Cohen Library, during and after window replacement

Not such good news from Kickstarter

22nd September 2014: Despite attracting pledges from 14 individuals, our Kickstarter campaign only reached just over £1,000 against its target of £3,000.

More positively I have written to all of the significant pledgers, asking them to donate separately, and indeed to fill in a gift aid form which adds 25% to their donation.  All have agreed – thank you everyone.

We now have promises of over £11,000 towards the project.  I hope this might be enough.

Thank you, Friends

11th September:  I learned today that the Friends have agreed to underwrite the project to the tune of £8,000.  Thank you!

One of the key questions they asked – and others have asked it too – is whether the sculpture would be accessible by the general public if it hangs in the Harold Cohen Library.  The answer is yes.  Any member of the public who identifies her or himself to the staff at the door will be allowed entry (as is the case currently). Liverpool has a very liberal access policy compared to some other universities.  In practice this means that Adagio would be just as accessible as it was in Philharmonic Hall, where you would usually have had to buy a concert ticket to get to see it!

An interesting point, and a reason for mounting Adagio in the University Library, is that about 100,000 Liverpool graduates have received their degrees in front of Adagio so it probably features in tens of thousands of family photographs.