Odds and quads

November 5, 2009

At the heart of the University of Glamorgan's Treforest campus are three life-sized bronze female figures by Robert Thomas: a reclining nude titled Reflection; a seated Dreaming Girl, hugging her knees; and a third work, Independence.

The last of these, originally designed to celebrate the emergence of women in society, has now become a symbol of the student body and appeared on the cover of a recent history of the university.

Mr Thomas (1926-99) was born in the Rhondda Valley, studied at the Royal College of Art and lived in London for many years before returning to Wales. In 2002, to celebrate the tenth anniversary of acquiring university status, Glamorgan held an exhibition with an emphasis on local artists. Mr Thomas, the only sculptor for whom Diana, Princess of Wales, ever posed, was an obvious choice.

Three of his female statues, all dating back to the 1960s, were recast. Although they were intended to be displayed only for one year, they proved so popular - not least among the children at the university creche - that they have become a much-loved permanent feature on campus.

Contributions are being sought for this new weekly series on the sector's treasures, oddities and curiosities - no submission is too weird or wonderful. Contact matthew.reisz@tsleducation.com.

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