noble ties

Homes & Gardens - - NEWS -

Writ in Wa­ter, by Mark Wallinger for the Na­tional Trust, cel­e­brates the legacy of the Magna Carta

Made in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Stu­dio Oc­topi, the large-scale cir­cu­lar build­ing emerges from the hill­side at Run­nymede, Sur­rey. The famed site, now cared for by the Na­tional Trust, saw feu­dal barons forc­ing King John to seal the Magna Carta some 800 years ago, a found­ing mo­ment in shap­ing the ba­sis of com­mon law.

The site, set in the heart of an­cient land­scape, has an ex­te­rior door­way that leads to a sim­ple cir­cu­lar labyrinth. The vis­i­tor can fol­low a path that leads into a cen­tral cham­ber, where sky can be seen through a wide ocu­lus above a pool of wa­ter. The sides of the pool are in­scribed with words in­spired from Clause 39 of the Magna Carta:

‘No free man shall be seized or im­pris­oned, or stripped of his rights or pos­ses­sions, or out­lawed or ex­iled, or de­prived of his stand­ing in any way, nor will we pro­ceed with force against him, or send oth­ers to do so, ex­cept by the law­ful judg­ment of his equals or by the law of the land.’

Writ in Wa­ter takes its name from the in­scrip­tion on John Keats’ grave­stone: ‘Here lies one whose name was writ in wa­ter’. Re­flect­ing on the found­ing prin­ci­ples of democ­racy and the meet­ing of wa­ter, sky and light, this art­work pro­vides vis­i­tors with a space for quiet con­tem­pla­tion and re­flec­tion.

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