William Pye Water Scupture


One of eight works in The Serpent Garden at Alnwick Castle. Torricelli, an Italian mathematician of the seventeenth century, was fascinated by the properties of hydrostatic pressure; that is to say the pressure derived from the 'head' or distance between surface and points below. I have applied this principle to the piece I have called Torricelli.

A pool on ground overlooking the Serpent Garden overflows via an internal weir, filling up the sculpture below via underground pipework.

One can observe the water rising within the transparent tubes to a point where it is level with the surface of the nearby pool, representing the 'head' of water that has been reached.

A pneumatically powered valve below ground level opens to release the hydrostatically charged water into a circular manifold. This feeds ninety jets that leap vertically up and then gradually subside in unison with the dropping levels visible in the acrylic tubes.

When these jets have all but died the valve closes, allowing the system to fill up again and the cycle to continue.

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