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Created and Sold by Briony Marshall Sculptor

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Barton's Chair | Public Sculptures by Briony Marshall Sculptor | Tonbridge School in Tonbridge
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Barton's Chair | Public Sculptures by Briony Marshall Sculptor | Tonbridge School in Tonbridge
Barton's Chair | Public Sculptures by Briony Marshall Sculptor | Tonbridge School in Tonbridge
Barton's Chair | Public Sculptures by Briony Marshall Sculptor | Tonbridge School in Tonbridge
Barton's Chair | Public Sculptures by Briony Marshall Sculptor | Tonbridge School in Tonbridge
Barton's Chair | Public Sculptures by Briony Marshall Sculptor | Tonbridge School in Tonbridge
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Barton's Chair | Public Sculptures by Briony Marshall Sculptor | Tonbridge School in Tonbridge

Barton's Chair - Public Sculptures

Featured In Tonbridge School, Tonbridge, United Kingdom

$ On Inquiry

Barton’s Chair is a large specially commissioned sculpture hanging in the central atrium in the heart of the new Barton Science Centre of Tonbridge School. It is based on the chair conformation of cyclohexane – a molecule formed by a ring of six carbon atoms.

Barton's chair isomer
Both the sculpture and the Science Centre are named after Old Tonbridgian Sir Derek Barton (MH 1932-5). In 1969 he shared the Nobel prize for Chemistry with Norwegian Odd Hassel for the ‘development of the concept of conformation and its application in Chemistry’. In other words, he discovered that carbon rings could either exist as a chair shape or a boat shape.

The sculpture is 8 billion times life-size and combines a scientific model of a molecular structure with a human call for connection and cooperation. Each carbon atom is represented by an adult figure coloured black, and each hydrogen atom by an infant coloured white. The colours reflect the CPK colour convention used in Chemistry. The arms and legs of the figures represent the covalent bonds that hold the molecule together; carbon usually forms four bonds, but hydrogen only one. The adult carbons are holding the hydrogen infants by the hand – an intimate analogy of connection and nurture. In the words of the novelist and Old Tonbridgian E.M. Forster: “Only Connect.”

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Meet the Creator
Wescover creator since 2019
Sculptures and Installations inspired by science

Briony Marshall is a UK based sculptor and installation artist. With a background in Biochemistry, she is interested in the idea of art practice as research. In her work, Briony fuses a conceptual approach with an intuitive, materials-inspired process. Her sculptures investigate the natural world and its relationship to the human condition.

In 2012 she completed the Pangolin London Sculpture Residency which culminated in a solo show at Pangolin London. In 2008 the Royal Society of Sculptors awarded her a 2-year bursary and she later went on to be elected as a sculptor member of its board of trustees. She is head of Professional Development at the Art Academy London. The Royal Society of Chemistry named Briony one of the ‘175 Face of Chemistry’ to celebrate its 175th anniversary.

In 2018 Briony completed two large scale commissions.The first, Layers of Bournemouth, is a B.E.A.F. and Arts Council funded commission for a rammed earth public artwork on Hengitsbury Head in Bournemouth. The second was Barton’s Chair, a large molecular sculpture inspired by Nobel laureate Derek Barton’s chair isomer of cyclohexane. This now hangs at the heart of Tonbridge School’s new science centre. Most recently, Briony Marshall has been shortlisted for the Leeds feminist public artwork. For it she is now developing a work based on the discoveries and life of the scientist, pacifist and prison reformer Kathleen Lonsdale.