Michael Johnson

William Penny Brookes walk - Much Wenlock, 2012

Material:  stone, stainless steel, bronze, smalti mosaic.

1.35 metres diameter.


The central bronzes depict aspects of William Penny Brookes'  life, mosaic rings denoting the Olympian connection. The text is a response to each  theme. The outer bronze is a leaf design by children at the local school.


William Penny Brookes was an English surgeon, magistrate, botanist and educationalist. His promotion of physical education and personal betterment led to his instigation of the Wenlock Olympian Games, and his association with Pierre de Coubertain led to the Olympic Games as we know them today.  The five artworks show the different interests of Penny Brookes:  

Botany. A passion for looking closely at the world contributed to his understanding of the effects of the environment on the body.  Trees. On the recreation ground several species were planted for commemorative purposes; they stand as symbols of events, longevity and belief in the future.  Sport. His lifelong belief in the benefit of sport is a core conviction throughout his works.  Culture. He recognised the balance of the body between the physical and spiritual and in response he supported the establishment of the Agricultural Reading Rooms, also encouraging music, art and history.  Industries. He further contributed to the progress of the town by being a key motivator in bringing the railways and gasworks to Wenlock.  



click  to enlarge

rings page






web in situ 3 web in situ web in situ 2