About All England Sculpture

All England Sculpture Slide Box


The first habitable space ship was launched by the USSR and the USA’s Apollo 15 and 16 missions landed on the moon. The world was enchanted with dissolving boundaries between space and time. On earth, young artist Simon English was to embark on a Summer-long journey towards a sculpture of national scale entitled, All England Sculpture.

From an airborne perspective Simon had divided the word ENGLAND into 75 component points and marked it down the length of a survey map of the country. The sculpture was to be 275 miles long and 40 miles wide. Each of the 75 letter-making points was 10 miles apart and letters separated by15 miles. Haphazardly traversing the country by trekking and hitch-hiking Simon would visit 20 of the then 41 English counties.

Almost always going somewhere between somewhere else, moving backwards and forwards, over and across boundaries between the rural and urban he experienced encounters with people and place, environments and ecologies and flora and fauna.

Using black and white film Simon photographed the view at each of the 75 points visited. He recorded images of fat hedgerows and fields full of crops at busy farms. Cobbled village roads led to still operative quarries and mines. Spaces unknown between cities and the countryside. At each individual point Simon also recorded himself, and anyone else present, with the glorious richness of 35 mm Kodacolor slide film. As a response to the climate, and farming techniques of almost forty years ago he also collected and later preserved wild flowers, crop samples and leaves – his journey also, then, charting seasonality and informed by agricultural practice and bionomics.

Shrunk to map-pin miniatures St. George’s Crosses were studded to tree trunks, indifferent to years of shifting boundaries between county borders; to gateposts and to pylons, to each surface the map-pin stapled a letter stating that Simon English had been there, what his intention was and to contact him should one encounter the evidence of his endeavour. People replied with handwritten letters stating that they too had been where he had, had seen his note and were letting him know its survival.

On completion of his journey Simon’s work was distributed by slide presentations with live voiceover and exhibitions of the components of the archived evidence collated in the making of the All England Sculpture. At its inaugural exhibition Simon English was awarded the Northern Young Contemporaries Art Prize for this beginning of what has become a life-long passion for fusing art with land.