Public art inspired by history

The Box

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Plymouth has a range of permanent public artworks, many of which are linked with or inspired by the city’s history. Here’s our ‘Top Five’!


Frances May Favata’s large stone sculpture is located at the rear of the Portland Square building on the University of Plymouth’s campus. It depicts a child being raised to the sky, a symbol of hope for the future. A mirrored panel behind it reflects a warped vision of the work to represent the impact and distortion war has on peoples’ lives. As well as being a beautiful piece of sculpture, it’s also a memorial to the 76 people who are known to have lost their lives on the night of 22-23 April 1941 in an underground shelter that was once located at the site during the Second World War.

Medieval Plymouth

Sited on the wall of Drake Circus close to the Cornwall Street entrance, ‘Medieval Plymouth’ is a large ceramic mural created by artist duo Philippa Threfall and Kennedy Collings. The artists took inspiration for the mural from medieval maps, particularly the Henry Vlll maps of Plymouth now held in the British Museum. The mural is made up of varying sizes and textures of ceramic tiles in a mosaic design which highlights Plymouth’s agricultural and naval heritage.


An 80ft long, painted, mild steel loop sculpture which is sited on the top of three brick railway pillars in Victoria Park. ‘Moor’ is the work of Turner Prize winning sculptor, Richard Deacon. It signals Plymouth’s close relationship to Dartmoor and also refers to the bridge-building genius of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, whose Tamar Railway Bridge is nearby.


This artwork on the Hoe marks the spot where the Beatles posed for famous photograph on 12 September 1967. The copper artwork, which was created by Thrussell and Thrussell, a duo of artist metalsmiths based on Bodmin Moor, enables people to sit in exactly the same positions as John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. The band had stopped off in Plymouth to pose for photographers while they were making ‘The Magical Mystery Tour’ film.

Waterfront Walkway

This distinctively marked trail of over nine miles was developed in 2002 to highlight Plymouth’s rich social, industrial and naval history of Plymouth. It links the Cremyll Ferry landing stage on the shores of the Tamar with Jennycliff on the eastern side of Plymouth Sound. Highlights include works linked to Sherlock Holmes’ creator Arthur Conan-Doyle, the prehistoric remains discovered in the Cattedown Caves and Mount Batten’s role as an RAF base from 1917-1992.

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