Sharing Shakespeare's Story
His Mind's Eye
‘His Mind’s Eye’ is the focal point of Shakespeare’s New Place. Sculptor Jill Berelowitz has brought an evocative story of Shakespeare’s creative genius to life through an astonishing combination of elements. An almost bare bronze tree stands nearly fives metres high and six metres across in canopy. The structure is partly made of sections of a specially selected hawthorn tree from Box Hill, a National Trust property in Surrey. Its branches are swept to the side with the force of Shakespeare’s genius. Under the tree sits a sphere, massive and elemental. One half shines miraculously bright, reflecting Shakespeare’s lambent vision, while the other remains in shadow, still rough and pitted like an asteroid.
Jill herself comments:
“The sweeping His Mind’s Eye tree, in a contemporary landscape setting, reflects Shakespeare's enormous power and irresistible force. Even though it is 4.5 meters, windblown to 5.5 meters, the roots are exposed but still anchor it to the earth.
“The bark of the tree trunk has the distinctive texture of the aged hawthorn tree which evolves off into the main boughs leaning over the Sphere, dark on the far side, polished by Shakespeare’s energy on the near. The tree tapers to the thinner branches to create twisted dance-like rhythms, spreading to the delicate feather branches around the edges. 200 gold leaves are scattered on the higher bare branches left over from the autumn.
“We chose the hawthorn tree as it’s typically English. Over the past nine months I have added to and reinterpreted the original Box Hill Tree by collecting hawthorn branches and twigs from across the country. Some I have moulded and others burnt out using the lost wax process, and these are now cast in bronze. We then clad a stainless steel armature, weighing almost a tonne, piece by piece with the bronze bark and branches creating, jigsaw like, the final interpretation.
“Although we have taken our inspiration for His Mind’s Eye from a living tree, this is no counterfeit, but a representation; a brazen monument to Shakespeare’s creativity and genius, a tree metaphorically bent by the gale force of his creative power. The design has been conceived to honour his unique insight and the enduring power of his words.”