Sir George Trevelyan: Attingham Park

The Attingham Zodiac

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In the mid-1960s the art of mosaic-making was introduced as a collective artistic activity at Attingham. After several mosaics had been made, the process culminated in the creation of twelve zodiac mosaics. On the announcement of Sir George's retirement in 1971, an appeal went out to raise funds to mount them in the Round Entrance, which was converted into a Zodiac Room as a memorial to his wardenship. The appeal, and Sir George's thoughts on the mosaics, are reproduced below.

Mosaic making

Mosaic showing the merged arms of Berwick, Shropshire and Trevelyan


Two pieces from a circular sent out in 1971:


In response to the announcement of Sir George's retirement in the summer of 1971, we feel that many who have enjoyed Attingham courses would like to join in a gesture of appreciation for Sir George's 23 years as Warden. An opportunity for doing so is offered through the mounting of the mosaic panels of the Zodiac in the Round Entrance at Attingham.

The twelve panels, each 5' 3” x 2' 6”, were made by student groups in the past two years. The Zodiac Room is now completed and unveiled, and very fine it looks. It is undoubtedly the most important artistic contribution to Attingham made during Sir George's time as Warden.

The cost of mounting the panels, with architect's help, carpeting the room, lighting and setting the “stars” on the coved ceiling comes to about £900. The Governors of the College are unable to meet this charge as the College budget is fully committed. Sir George, who pressed ahead to complete this beautiful room, will have to stand the cost unless other support is forth coming.

We feel that many of our fellow students would like to join in raising a fund to present Attingham with this permanent token of Sir George's wardenship. It would certainly be the kind of leaving present he would most desire and the best appreciation we could show for all we have received during his term. Any sum collected in excess of these costs will be handed to Sir George as a personal retirement gift. We therefore invite you to make whatever contribution you feel able.

Iris Ratsey, Ellie Beevers, Lawson & Sheila Stote, Guy Baker (1970)

by Sir George Trevelyan

The creation of the Zodiac Room is the biggest achievement in artistic and craft activity during my time at Attingham. In completing this room we have added a new and beautiful feature to the great house for which we have through the years gained such affection.

A mosaic still hanging at Attingham

The Round Entrance (from now on called the Zodiac Room) is the under-vault supporting Nash's staircase. In early days we had gaily decorated the cove with the constellations in tinfoil and had painted the Signs of the Zodiac around the walls. Then came Jasper and Molly Kettlewell, stained glass makers, as tutors on craft courses. In 1966 they directed the first mosaic operation in making the great heraldic achievement in the College dining room. This was a remarkable example of group activity and showed the educational possibilities of mosaic as a craft for amateurs.

Then, full of ambition, we decided to make an Attingham Zodiac for the Round Entrance. The twelve mosaic panels were made by a team who attained great skill in their craft. Their names will be recorded on a plaque in the porch of the Zodiac Room. With help and advice from our architect friend, Alan Miller, we mounted the panels, redevised the starry heavens in more permanent form, invented a suitable lighting and carpeted the room.

It was declared open by Lady Berwick at a joyful gathering on November 7th, 1970. Thus Attingham, with all its beauty, has now received a further embellishment through student activity and zeal. Our thanks are due to the Kettlewells and all their team for their arduous work and sustained enthusiasm for this fine venture.


The above Mosaics are currently displayed at the Telford College of Arts and Technology.

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