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Written by:
Paul Holland
17 Apr 2023

Sculptures on display at the University of Cambridge will be the starting point for a conversation about art in antiquity between their creator, Stephen Cox RA, and classicist Mary Beard.

Famous for her ground-breaking television series about the classical world Professor Beard’s knowledge of ancient artworks is second to none.

Mr Cox’s work is inspired by the ancient world and the stones he uses are often directly sourced from quarries used by the civilisations of antiquity.

The Encounters in Stone exhibition in Trinity Hall (as part of the wider Trinity Hall Arts Festival) includes several of Mr Cox’s works and those who wish to join the talk are encouraged to view the artworks in situ ahead of the conversation.

The discussion will include the artist’s experience in quarrying Imperial Porphyry from its source in the Eastern Mountains of Egypt along with Hammamat Breccia and Chephren Diorite.

Professor Beard and Mr Cox will also discuss Aswan Granite and how it was used in the production of one of the artist’s sculptures dedicated to the Egyptian Pharaoh Khafre that was exhibited 2 years ago on the Pyramids Plateau adjacent to his Pyramid.

Mr Cox said: “That Aswan has been the source for granite for sculpture and architectural purposes for 6,000 years is a testament to the durability of stone, its agelessness and its meaning.

“Mary Beard’s expert knowledge of the ancient world is unequalled, and her insights will highlight the significance of stone which filters down to us today.

“The quarrying of stone for my sculptures made in India uses techniques from antiquity and are just today being challenged by modern techniques from Germany and Italy.”

The talk will be held on Thursday, May 4 (5.45pm-7.15pm) at Trinity Hall in the Lecture Theatre. Those attending are encouraged to visit the works beforehand. Details of the Encounters in Stone exhibition, including links to visiting hours, can be found on the Trinity Hall website and an exhibition catalogue can be purchased from the Porters’ Lodge.