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A Portrait of Great Britain: Angela Palmer created the ‘geological spine’ of the UK, using 16 rocks sourced from the length and breadth of the country, representing every geological period spanning 3 billion years of our country’s history. The rocks are polished on one side, showing the magnificent ‘underbelly’ of Britain in geological sequence, and left rough on the reverse, as we may encounter them in the landscape. The work is intended as a maquette for a large scale installation in a prominent public location, with each rock over 2m high. The artist is currently seeking a suitable location and sponsor. 


The spine begins with a 3 billion-year-old Lewisian Gneiss from NW Scotland, followed by a 2 billion-year-old White Anorthosite, also from NW Scotland, which is the same type of rock found on the Moon and retrieved by Apollo 15 astronauts in 1971. The penultimate rock in the spine is an erratic boulder, deposited in the most recent glacial episode. Through the sequence of rocks, you will be propelled from Britain’s origin near the South Pole – where Scotland and Northern Ireland were separated from England and Wales by the Iapatus Ocean – to our merging as a nation as we slowly drifted northwards, across the Equator, and towards our current northern location.

The final element in the spine symbolises the Anthropocene, the new geological age to be officially declared in the near future, reflecting man’s impact on the planet; it will supersede the current Holocene epoch. To represent the Anthropocene, the artist has created a rock-like structure in mirror polished steel, to reflect the onlooker

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