William Mitchell – Concrete Art

948 W Mitchell Coventry

My heart lifts when I see art on the street that is touchable, shared, readily opening up to a different light the mundane moments of daily routine. A good example is the endless gift to Harlow New Town’s community comprising 84 sculptures carefully planted throughout its living and working and shopping and playing spaces.

My photo is of a wall in a small Coventry shopping precinct, an energising art work robustly composed in concrete by William Mitchell in 1966. The window set into its exuberance affords a glimpse of the bright plastic condiment dispensers within.

William Mitchell won the 2014 Creativity in Concrete Award for his lifetime’s achievement. I have admired his carved bell tower and panels at Frederick Gibberd’s RC Cathedral in Liverpool, and the delicately expressive success of his cement Stations of the Cross in the RC Clifton Cathedral in Bristol, but I did not know until now that he designed the glorious Egyptian escalator and Egyptian Hall at Harrods.

Some rather interesting details about Mitchell may be found enthusiastically presented on: https://wharferj.wordpress.com/2011/09/02/william-mitchell-an-unacknowledged-genius/ and there are honourable mentions in the two lovely books I received at Christmas, Christopher Martin: A Glimpse of Heaven, Catholic Churches of England and Wales (2006), and The Twentieth Century Society: 100 Buildings 100 Years (2014) and in another wonderful and richly detailed book, this one a birthday present, Robert Proctor: Building the Modern Church, Roman Catholic Architecture in Britain, 1955 to 1975 (2014). How good my family are to me.

William Mitchell’s art is truly accessible.