Public Art Research Archive, Sheffield
Hallam University PUBLIC ART IN SHEFFIELD
Gable end of four storey building
on Castle Street, near the Law Courts, Sheffield City Centre
Iconic image dominated by the
man's eyes and helmet
Sheffield City Council Arts Department
and Department of Land and Planning (Planning Division).
The history of the steel industry
is central to the city of Sheffield and its surrounding area.In recent years
the industry (as mining in Derbyshire) has been in steady decline and this
image is representative of the past Industrial boom and those who took a
part in it. The portrait of the steelworker is not a total invention, but
based upon that of an actual individual and then adjusted to fit the medium.
The artist Paul Waplington commented: (1984) "The eyes had to be enlarged,
for example, or the pupils and the whites would have been smaller than a
The strong image has been featured
in publications to promote the use of brick, e.g. Brickwork Design Magazine
No.3., Vol.3, Jan. 1988; Guide to Successful Brickwork, Edward Arnold, 1993.
The piece uses, after all, 30,000 bricks of 18 different types and 5 types
of mortar. 'Steelworker' is considered by some to be one of the first modern
public art works in the city, which has now expanded culturally embracing
the arts within its changing cultural context .