York Panorama

public art work in York Library

York Panorama

The coloured textured panel is made from plaster; the design is laid out as an ancient stone wall, inspired by the city walls round York. The stone blocks contain images illustrating aspects of everyday life in York today, as well as an impression of the life of the city continuing from the earliest inhabitants and on into the future.

Each brick has an image of something relating to the stories local people have told us about living in York. These were collected as part of ‘York: Gateway to History’ project which aims to increase public access to the archives, funded by the Heritage Lottery.

The colour scheme is inspired by the colours in the old manuscripts and maps in the archives, and some of the imagery is taken directly from documents in the archives. You can also find lots of familiar things moulded into the panel – look out for the polo swimming rings, Terry’s Chocolate Orange tree and Yorkie bar bricks in the wall…..

The ‘mortar’ between the blocks contains text representing the flow of memory and time, linking the words and voices of todays residents to the images in the stone.

The panel is at York Explore Library and Archives Learning Centre, on the curved wall opposite the entrance to Archives and Local History area on the first floor landing. It measures approximately 3.5 m x 1m.

The left side of the panel

Showing the white horse in the distance, the railway, the carriageworks, the cocoa works and the park. On the other riverbank are the mystery plays and the icecream boat.


Constructing a plaster tile

I pressed textures into clay before casting it in plaster and adding colour. This is a test panel for the border. (The insects are plastic ones from a joke shop)


The Carriage works

This panel uses real engineers tools. Spot the worker having a tea break…..


The right side of the panel

With the Minster, Cliffords Tower and The Shambles, as well as street and social scenes and the pantomime.


Some border sections

The border was inspired by decorated manuscripts in the archives

Swimming in the park

The ‘lifesaver’ rings are cast from polos. Some children tried to lick the panel to see if they were real! Notice the Braille writing under the image.

Download the Artist's notes on the York Panorama

Here is background information about each of the blocks in the Panorama.