William Pye Water Scupture


I was asked if I could do something to replace a grand old cedar tree that had finally succumbed to the ravages of old age and fallen in a storm. The site is at Woolbeding House, near Midhurst in Sussex, and on my first introductory visit, as I turned off the main Midhurst road and wound my way through a narrow high banked lane, I began to have a feeling that I had been here before, and as I drove past an elegant sandstone arch, the sense of familiarity increased. 

It was after lunch when I enquired about the previous owners of Woolbeding House that I learned it had been the Lascelles family who had been there. Suddenly it came back to me as clear as day that there was no doubt that I had been here before. I have a clear recollection of visiting this house with my mother when I must have been 10 years old. And so I was commisioned to put a piece exactly where I had been over 60 years before.

Cedra is in my 2011 Coanda series (see a video here). These pieces take their name from Henri Coanda, who has been called 'the father of fluid dynamics'; he was particularly intrigued by the way fluids cling to surfaces. This came to be called the Coanda effect - here demonstrated on an overhanging surface where the water is allowed to spill over the edge of a bowl and adhere to its underside, converging towards the central trunk.

The piece is fabricated from cast, spun and rolled mirror-polished stainless steel, four metres in diameter. Woolbeding house is owned by the National Trust and the garden opened to the public in April 2011.

Other work in Coanda series here

Video of Coanda series here

For more information or to commission a similar piece, please send a request through the contact page on this website.

Concept development

  • The old cedar tree
  • The old cedar tree after the storm
  • The site where the sculpture will replace the tree
  • The site looking towards the church


  • Proposed site for the sculpture
  • The maquette
  • Maquette with general view


  • The site was covered to allow work during the winter months
  • Work on the foundations under cover in the winter
  • Beginning fabrication
  • Polishing of the dome in the workshop
  • The stainless steel casting being polished
  • Final assembly before delivery
  • The extra wide load ready for delivery
  • A tight squeeze through the gates

Completion and launch

  • Delivery of the sculpture
  • The sculpture after delivery
  • The team making final adjustments
  • Reflections on the polished surface before water is switched on
  • Reflections on the polished surface before water is switched on
  • Water is switched on and flow adjusted so it clings to the whole surface