Friday, 23 October 2015


"Ethos" is a sculpture of a winged female figure of cast electrolytic copper, by the Australian artist, Tom Bass. The figure is robed in a fabric richly embossed with emblems and figures representing the Community. She rises from a hexagonal shaped saucer incised with the pattern of the Canberra Plan and reaches for the sun above her head. The lower part of the figure is filled with concrete for stability. The figure is 400 cm high, 76 cm wide, 90 cm deep and the bowl has a diameter of 170 cm. The circular concrete base of 50 cm height rises from a 204 cm square.

In the saucer at the rear of the figure a cartouche is inscribed "Tom Bass 1961". The saucer is centrally drained and has breather holes placed at each point of the base. The sculpture is set on a cement plinth which holds a time capsule. The capsule contains a range of material including a copy of the Canberra Times, the Annual Report of the Canberra Chamber of Commerce and a list of contributors to the sponsorship by the Canberra Chamber of Commerce.

This sculpture by Tom Bass (born Lithgow, NSW, 1916-2010) was the first commission by the National Capital Development Commission (NCDC) for an artwork in a public place. The NCDC was established in 1958 to plan, develop and construct Canberra as the National Capital and provided works of art as an integral part of its building and urban development programmes. The sculpture was commissioned in 1959.

Ethos was sponsored by the Canberra Chamber of Commerce which raised money by the sale of miniatures of the sculpture for 50 pounds and through other donations from both the business community and the public. The NCDC contributed the balance to meet the total cost of the 7,580 pounds.

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful sculpture and I love what she represents!


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