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Thirteen years after the grand opening of the Prometheus Centre at Frome College, by Kevin McCloud of Grand Designs, a memorial plaque has been unveiled this week by College Principal, Emma Reynolds, in the presence of Georgina Robinson, niece of John Robinson, Richard Stone who constructed the Prometheus Hearth, and former Frome College maths teacher Chris Curtis.

Mr Curtis commissioned the sculpture in 2005 after typing in ‘maths plus drama’ on the internet which led him to John Robinson’s symbolic sculptures and website at the University of Bangor.  After accepting an invitation to the home of John Robinson at Agecroft, Galhampton, Mr Curtis was inspired by the stunning sculptures all around the garden, many of which still adorn famous locations around the world including Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Yale and the Ford Building in America.  Walking up the stairs to John’s work annexe, Chris noticed a Marquette of the Prometheus Hearth shining in the corner of the room, and asked if it might be possible for John to create the sculpture for Frome College.  John said that he would be delighted, and Chris borrowed the flame Marquette and placed it on the desk of former College Principal, Barry Bates, and suggested the Prometheus Centre as a name for the new mathematics and drama building.

John Robinson cared passionately about the environment, and was already established as an internationally renowned sculptor, artist, explorer and environmentalist.  He loved the idea of placing a sculpture so near to his beloved Agecroft,  and modestly joked that he should just write ‘local man helps school’ in the forthcoming press release.   

The sculpture was constructed in stainless steel by Richard Stone of Vertex Ltd. Mr Curtis who left Frome College last year after 28 years’ service, re-established contact with Richard a few years ago and they are launching a strategy game called ‘Prometheus’ which has been manufactured in Somerset and will go around the world as an enjoyable and innovative strategy game to help bring families and friends closer together. 

In John’s memoirs, he wrote movingly about the Prometheus Hearth sculpture and said, “The Hearth was modern man’s first home and the light from the fire must have turned the dark evenings into the classroom for speech.  The miracle of communication is the tool of our success as a species.” John also observed that if you cover up the first letter and then the last letter of the word ‘hearth’ you obtain heart and earth.

Professor Ronnie Brown at the University of Bangor wrote, “John was someone who bridged art and science through a passionate interest in humanity and the world.  He told me images came to him to express these links.  He was able to ensure great craftsmanship and artistic feeling to realise them”.  

Students wishing to find out more about the late John Robinson’s work, and his passion for exploring the interconnections between subjects such as mathematics, drama, music and art, can visit John’s website at www.johnrobinsonartist.com   

If you would like to find out more about the new Prometheus game, you can visit Mr Curtis’ website at www.prometheusconcept.com  His tribute to the late John Robinson, can be viewed in the July 2007 edition of the international architecture magazine ‘Hyperseeing’.                                                                

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