Catalogue entryNaum Gabo 1890-1977
T01754 Revolving Torsion, Fountain 1972-3
Stainless steel, 122 x 132 x 132 (310 x 335 x 335)
Presented by Alistair McAlpine 1973
Prov: Alistair McAlpine, London (who paid the cost of its construction)
Repr: exh. catalogue Naum Gabo: The Constructive Process, Tate Gallery, November 1976-January 1977, p.33 (but not exhibited)
When on a visit to Gabo's studio in the United States in 1968 the Director of the Tate Gallery, Sir Norman Reid, was told by Gabo of his hopes of seeing his maquette 'Torsion (Project for a Fountain)' carried out as a full-scale working fountain. Arrangements were made to send the maquette to London and Sir Norman undertook to find a sponsor and a suitable site. The project was explained to Alistair McAlpine who undertook to pay all the costs of having the fountain made and when this had been done presented it to the Tate. The artist himself donated the maquette in 1969 (T01171).
Detailed plans were drawn up by Sir Robert McAlpine & Sons Ltd. in collaboration with the artist. The fountain, which is in stainless steel, was eventually made in 1972-3 by Stainless Metalcraft Ltd. of London. Water entering from below issues from the outer edges of the diagonal ribs in a continuous series of jets. The sculpture is designed to make one complete rotation every ten minutes and the jets are programmed to go from minimum to maximum and back to minimum in the same 10 minute cycle.
The Trustees' offer of the fountain on long-term loan was welcomed by the board of governors of St Thomas' Hospital and it was installed in late 1975 in the centre of the new garden between the Hospital and the southern end of Westminster Bridge.
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.267, reproduced p.267