Public Art Research Archive, Sheffield
Hallam University PUBLIC ART IN SHEFFIELD
welded and rusted mild steel
In the Bear Pit, Botanical Gardens.
(A-Z p98 4B)
A lifesize standing bear, c. 2m high, with front paws dangling at its side.
The metal has been deliberately allowed to rust so that the figure is realistically
At the feet of the bear are four lines from one of the riddles that tempt
visitors to the Gardens to explore various features and views within them.
The riddles were written by local author and poet, Berlie Doherty, and have
been incorporated into a number of artworks within the Botanical Gardens.
Lettering by Matt Fairley, who also installed the piece with the artist.
The sculpture was commissioned by
Sheffield City Council for the Riddle Trail project initiated by the city's
Off the Shelf Festival of Writing and Reading in 1999 in collaboration with
Sheffield Botanical Gardens. A partnership composed of the Friends of the
Botanical Gardens, Sheffield Town Trust, Sheffield City Council and the University
of Sheffield has been responsible for the restoration of the gardens since
The Bear was installed on
3 March 2005.
The bear pit was the home of two
captive bears in 1850's.
The original concept was for this bear to be reaching upwards, but this had
to be changed for Safety considerations; the figure was considered to be too
close to viewers looking into the pit and might invite spectators to try to
climb onto it.
Sources: Conversations with the artist [3.3.05 and 23.3.05]