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The Art

Search for information about all the works of art and craft we have donated to museums

University of Cambridge: David Batchelor

Richard of York Gave Battle in Vain, Eddington

The Details

The fourth permanent artwork to be realised for North West Cambridge’s Eddington Development, Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain by David Batchelor, draws inspiration from Cambridge scholar Sir Isaac Newton. In 1704, Newton’s pioneering work on optics divided the visible light spectrum into a circle of seven distinct colours: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. The title of Batchelor’s artwork references the common mnemonic used by children to memorise the order of the colours.

Located in Community Square outside the Storey’s Field Centre, the work is made up of seven free-standing discs brightly lit with LEDs; at any one time each of the seven discs will correspond to one of the seven colours of the spectrum.

As well as providing a focal point for the public space, these discs also function as a rudimentary clock. At any one point a disc will show a single colour, but over the course of an hour it slowly moves through the entire spectrum, returning to its starting colour on the hour. Each ‘clock’ has a different starting colour, so no two discs are ever the same colour at the same time.

This permanent artwork was commissioned through the public art programme managed by *Consultancy, on behalf of the University of Cambridge. At the heart of the programme is a thorough understanding of place, allowing a distinctive identity to develop for Eddington and the North West Cambridge Development as the site is constructed. 

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