From the Rivers to the Sea

ArtistHilary Paynter (Website)
Location: Lower concourse linking Metro Platfroms 1 & 2
Commission year2004
From the Rivers to the Sea artwork

This artwork is due to be re-displayed in a new location as part of the 2015/16 refurbishment of Metro Central Station.  It will not be visible for a time while builing work takes place. Sorry for any inconvenience.

In 2003 Newcastle celebrated the 250th anniversary of the birth of Thomas Bewick (1753-1828), one of the greatest Northern artists.

He invented and excelled in the art of wood engraving, a technique whereby the image to be printed is first incised into the end grain of a block of wood. Engraving tools are used to ‘plough fine furrows’ into the block which appear as fine white lines when the surface of the block is inked up and a print taken from it.  To mark this anniversary Hilary Paynter, one of today’s leading wood engravers, was commissioned to create a suite of prints reflecting the contemporary life and landscape of the Tyne & Wear Metro.

From the outset Hilary Paynter described how she was, ‘Arrested by the idea of the Metro as a journey in and out of the past and the richness of historical context’, and interested by, ‘changes in the landscape, including those wrought by man and, in their turn, those changes wrought within man’.

Whilst Thomas Bewick worked within the technical constraints of his day Hilary Paynter was keen to explore how her images could be enlarged and given an architectural presence. Reproduced as vitreous enamel panels her wood engravings provide a panoramic travelogue which link the station’s platforms across the concourse. At the end of his life Thomas Bewick wrote of engraving that, ‘I cannot help feeling a deep interest, and ardent desire, that the Art may long flourish and that those who follow it may feel happy in the pursuit...’.  Hilary Paynter’s ‘From the Rivers to the Sea’ is more than a fitting tribute to Bewick’s achievements and advice.

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