by Raphael Daden
ARTWORK: The Levels ARTIST: Raphael Daden
Overlooking the beach on the widest point of the promenade, The Levels takes the shape of a porthole window looking out to sea. Instead of glass, however, it’s filled with layers of translucent resin in different shades of blue, based on rising sea levels, which are likely to have a major impact on seaside settlements like Weymouth as the century goes on. A line of text across the centre reads, ‘the levels are changing so must we’. Framed in marine-grade stainless steel, it stands on a Portland stone plinth, which has a matching disc of stainless steel inscribed with lines by poet Aly Stoneman.
Raphael Daden - Though he’s now based in Nottingham, Raphael grew up on the Somerset Levels, and his work often incorporates light, using resins, acrylics and glass. He started working with resin in 2000, using layers to represent the natural patterns of geological strata, and the natural world has always been important to his work.
Location: Seafront Promenade near the clock tower, DT4 7EB
The Levels can be found half way along the beachfront, where King Street meets the Esplanade. It stands next to the Jubilee Clock, which was built in 1888 to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee the year before. Originally the pavement here was much narrower, and the base of the clock projected out onto the beach, but in the 1920s the promenade was extended at this point, partly to stop shingle drifting along the beach and covering its sandy southern half.
The Jubilee Clock was paid for with £100 collected on the day of Queen Victoria’s jubilee, though the clock itself was a gift from Sir Henry Edwards, Weymouth’s MP from 1867 to 1885 and a major benefactor of the town. Constructed of cast and wrought iron on a Portland stone plinth, it is decorated with images of the Queen and the Weymouth coat of arms and painted in bold colours, though its original colours seem to have been much more restrained.
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