An online art project by Rich White.

Do you have a favourite view of the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean?

Inspired by Bruce Allan’s 1988 sculpture ‘Observatory’ which was part of the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail from 1988 – 2014, artist Rich White has developed an online project called Observatories.

(image supplied by Rich White – ‘The Forest of Dean. I love these breaks in the tree cover where the light comes streaming in. As an homage to Bruce Allan’s original sculpture this Observatory mimics the staircase, but as a shaft of sunlight.’)

During this period of lockdown the project aimed to engage with audiences to imagine the views and locations they couldn’t access around the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley.

(image supplied by Shadowed Eyes – @EyesShadowed on Twitter, He chose this image taken from Eagle’s Nest viewpoint because of its ‘grand view of two great rivers’. The Observatory has two platforms to provide a stunning,  unique view of each river)

Referencing Bruce Allen’s contemplative call to ‘stand and stare’ Rich asked for members of the public to submit photographs of their favourite view of the area, along with a short explanation of why the view is important to them.

Rich then used the images and information to inspire a series of theoretical and fantastical towers designed to make us think about how we look at these landscapes and to help us imagine ourselves placed somewhere else, somewhere impossible.

(image supplied by Frances Davis. Symonds Yat in the Forest of Dean. “Breathtaking” and makes you “stand in awe”. The many steps of this observatory will add to your breathlessness but the view will be rewarding)

(image supplied by Matt Nightingale.  Beechenhurst in the Forest of Dean. “This view stopped me in my tracks. The backdrop of fir trees made me think of a stage with the younger plants performing in the wind for the onlookers of the elders behind”)


You can download a pdf of all the Observatories here which includes a ‘print out & draw your own’ section to create your own fantastical designs!

Supported by Arts Council England & Esmée Fairburn Foundation.