London

Paolozzi Tube mosaic designs to go under the hammer

Mosaics on the Underground Image copyright Twentieth Century Society
Image caption London Transport commissioned the mosaic by Sir Eduardo Paolozzi in 1980

A Scottish artist's designs for a set of mosaics at Tottenham Court Road Tube Station in London are to be auctioned in Edinburgh.

The mosaics, by the late Sir Eduardo Paolozzi, are described by experts as iconic examples of pop culture.

They were commissioned in 1979 by London Transport and are designed to link the interconnecting spaces of the station.

They were not completed until 1986. The Leith artist died in 2005.

Glass mosaics

Paolozzi (1924-2005), Her Majesty's Sculptor-in-Ordinary for Scotland, was one of Britain's leading 20th century artists and sculptors and was been credited with inspiring the Pop Art movement in the 1950s.

Born in Leith to Italian parents, Paolozzi's first inspiration for art came from cigarette cards, handed to him by customers of the family ice cream shop.

Very few of Paolozzi's works are in the public realm, and the studies are said to be of "particular interest".

The glass mosaics themselves cover 950 sq m.

They were painstakingly restored in 2015 and, while 95% were retained in place, the remainder were removed and are now held in the collection of the Edinburgh College of Art where Paolozzi was a visiting professor and where he had himself studied in the 1940s.

Charlotte Riordan, of auctioneers Lyon & Turnbull, who are selling the studies, said: "In his designs for the mosaics, Paolozzi draws on his knowledge and understanding of popular culture and iconic symbolism.

"The concept united his abiding interest in the culture of mechanisation and his empathy with the station's historic context and its geographical location. Having taught at the nearby Central School of Art in the 50s, Paolozzi had retained a broad, deep-rooted and affectionate understanding of the local area and its diverse communities."

Other works by the artist in London include the sculptures "Newton (after Blake)" (1995) at the British Library; "Head of Invention"(1989) outside the Design Museum, and "Piscator"(1980) in front of Euston station.

The mosaic designs are valued at £20,000 to £30,000.

The sale takes place in Edinburgh on Thursday.

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