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Pembroke Unveils New Sculpture

Cresent Figure 1

We are delighted to announce the installation of a beautiful new sculpture, John Farnham’s ‘Crescent Figure’, just outside the entrance to the Library and which now provides a stunning focal point at the end of The Avenue.

The sculpture is a generous gift to Pembroke from alumnus Harry Howard (1953), who had owned an example of ‘Crescent Figure’ for many years. Harry was inspired to have this new bronze casting specially made for Pembroke after seeing just how much the Henry Moore sculpture ‘Figures in a Shelter’ (currently on loan from the Henry Moore Foundation) had enhanced the College environment.

The casting and colouring of the sculpture was overseen by the artist John Farnham ( in consultation with Harry and the College, and was carried out by the Powderhall Bronze foundry in Edinburgh. John (who was for many years Henry Moore’s assistant) was keen to ensure that his work not only sat well within the beautiful College gardens but also complemented other College sculptures– notably ‘Figures in a Shelter’ and William Pitt. This was felt to be particularly important as eventually ‘Crescent Figure’ will take up permanent residence within the College’s Mill Lane development, where it is hoped it will provide an important visual link and continuity with the main site.

The work was originally designed as a small piece of jewellery, before being worked up to its current scale via a wooden maquette and fibreglass models in 1974. The first bronze sculpture was purchased by Kirk Douglas, and another has been exhibited at Salford Museum and Art Gallery. In this short video John speaks about what inspires his work, and at 3.09 minutes in he specifically talks about the development of 'Cresent Figure':

The Master Lord Smith commented ‘We are really grateful to Harry for his extraordinary generosity, and to John for his vision and hard work, which have combined to produce this stunning addition to the College which will now be enjoyed by generations of students to come’.

Dr Simon Learmount


Cresent Figure Installation


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