Date of release: Friday, January 22, 2016

The Witch of Agnesi A geometric bronze sculpture on the university's Avery Hill Campus has been newly-listed alongside 40 other pieces of post-war public art including works by Antony Gormley, Elizabeth Frink, Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore.

The university sculpture, titled The Witch of Agnesi, has been a feature on the campus since it was created by FE McWilliam in 1959. Historic England has now recognised it as part of an irreplaceable national collection of public art.

The piece is said to have been inspired by a female mathematician of the 18th century, Maria Agnesi, who evolved a head-shaped curve now known as the "witch" of Agnesi. Composed of four curved rectangular shapes with roughcast surfaces, stacked one on top of the other, the sculpture also features shapes and markings that some believe may indicate wings, horns and a hooded face.

The story of The Witch of Agnesi, and other newly-listed sculptures, will be explored in Historic England's forthcoming exhibition at Somerset House, "Out There: Our Post-War Public Art" which runs from 3 February to 10 April 2016.

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Greenwich, Professor David Maguire, says: "The Witch has been much-loved by many generations of students and staff, and is also popular among our local community. As custodian of 16 listed buildings already, we are enormously proud that another treasure of the university's estate has been recognised in this way."

Heritage Minister, Tracey Crouch says: "It is only right that these fantastic pieces are listed. Not only are they magnificent sculptures but they are also an important part of our history, capturing the mood of Britain after WWII."

Roger Bowdler, Director of Listing at Historic England said: "These sculptures were commissioned and created for everybody and have become a precious national collection of art which we can all share. They enrich our lives, bring art to everyone and deserve celebration. We have worked with the Public Monuments and Sculpture Association, Tate, and the Twentieth Century Society throughout this project to ensure our most special public art is protected and continues to enhance our public spaces."

The Witch of Agnesi was initially commissioned by London County Council for Avery Hill College, which later became part of the University of Greenwich. Although members of the public are generally welcome to visit the sculpture (directions are available from the Southwood Site security gate on Avery Hill Road) it is not available to view right now as it's all wrapped up safely while minor repair work takes place to the liner of the pond in which it stands. This is expected to be complete later in the spring.

For further information about The Witch of Agnesi: http://www.pmsa.org.uk/pmsa-database/3299/#sthash.tXFC43iq.dpuf

Story by Public Relations

Photo courtesy of Historic England