A sculpture by George King Architects entitled Iron Ring has been selected by a panel of experts from the Welsh Government’s historic environment service (Cadw), following a nation-wide competition inviting leading artists and architects to propose an art piece celebrating Wales’ Year of Legends.
The £395,000 Iron Ring sculpture, unveiled by Ken Skates, Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure, symbolises a giant rusted crown representing the relationship between the medieval monarchies of Europe and the castles they built.
The sculpture could potentially measure up to seven metres high and 30 metres in diameter, and is designed as a cantilevered bridge structure formed from weathering steel. The structure touches the earth gently, entering the ground in a delicate manner at only two points. The sculpture will be engraved with carefully chosen words to be developed with the local community.
When opened in 2018, visitors will be able to walk along the sculpture and enjoy elevated views across the estuary and of the castle. Its location at Flint marks the event where the crown was famously transferred from one medieval dynasty to another, as described in Shakespeare’s Richard II. Flint Castle was the setting as Richard II surrendered the crown to Henry IV — a momentous event impacting the history of Britain and Europe.
“The sculpture will take a precariously balanced form, half buried beneath the ground, half projecting into the air, to demonstrate the unstable nature of the crown,” said George King. “From afar its striking, iconic form resembles a giant ancient artefact, washed up on the shore of the Dee Estuary. Its scale and dynamic appearance means that it will become an instantly recognisable landmark for the area.” The engravings will celebrate local landmarks, historic towns and their links with Flint Castle, as well as content about the flora and fauna of the Dee estuary.
Further improvements to the castle include the installation of a stainless-steel spiral staircase within the north-east tower and a masterplan to consider the wider regeneration of the Flint Foreshore. The £217k staircase has been fitted in the same position as the original masonry staircase, allowing visitors access to the tower and an opportunity to enjoy magnificent views from a new platform installed at the top of the stairs.
The regeneration approach is in its early stages, but will look at options for the improvement to the current facilities along the shore. This will include working with Flint’s RNLI, rugby club and football club to improve current facilities, and working with partners such as the Local Authority to develop visitor services at Flint Castle. Source and images, Courtesy of George King Architects.