William Pye Water Scupture

A new permanent font for Salisbury Cathedral

I have worked on the project on and off for the past ten years and the font is now completed and was consecrated by the Archbishop of Canterbury on 28th September 2008, as part of the Cathedral's 750th anniversary celebrations.

The Cathedral has not had a permanently installed font. There was a small portable one which resided in one of the side chapels. The move to procure a permanent font for Salisbury was initiated by the then Canon Treasurer June Osborne, who has gone on to become Dean of Salisbury.

During the past decade, a series of pieces of my own work was installed at the North Porch Crossing which is the chosen location for the font. For the first one in 2001, a trapezoidal tray echoed the shape of St Osmund's tomb. This was a temporary installation, primarily aimed towards demonstrating the immense potential of reflection of the surrounding architecture in still water within the Cathedral.

In subsequent years, versions of my Brimming Bowl series were installed over the Easter periods, when they have become temporary fonts for baptisms. These installations were all aimed towards finding a solution that would be acceptable to all parties involved.

Not only is the new work a working font, but also something that hopefully will become a major attraction to the 90% of visitors entering the Cathedral who are not there to worship, but simply as tourists.