I would guess that many Society members have not seen this 12 metre long glass artwork. In my opinion it is the most interesting and informative modern installation in Ipswich, but it is rather out of the way for many people. Its location is on Orwell Quay, mounted on the brick wall of the long ramp up to the Orwell Quay flats and very close to the ‘tented' building, the Aurora restaurant. More people do come along the quay nowadays to go to the restaurant and for the nearby departure point of the Orwell Lady, but the quayside is very wide here and you need to walk over to appreciate the artwork in detail.
Beyond the Horizon was commissioned by Ipswich Borough Council and Persimmon, the builders of the Orwell Quay flats, and followed the suggestions of IBC and the Public Art Working Group. It seemed very fitting that in 2007 Suffolk's role in the 400th anniversary of the founding of the first British settlement in America, Jamestown, Virginia, should be commemorated in this way. The undoubted mastermind of that expedition was Bartholomew Gosnold, born in Grundisburgh, close to the Gosnolds' ancestral home, Otley Hall. Direct connections with Ipswich itself are hard to establish. The little fleet of three ships set sail from London, but the captain of the smallest ship, Discovery, was an Ipswich man (John Sicklemore, aka Ratliffe) and a modern replica of that vessel visited the Waterfront in August 2007.
Gosnold's determination to create a settlement in America was at first foiled when a smaller expedition in 1602 was very soon curtailed, although it was then that Gosnold named Cape Cod and the island of Martha's Vineyard in what is now the state of Massachusetts. But in 1607, with the approval of King James a permanent settlement, Jamestown, was set up in Virginia. The original site chosen was swampy and infested by mosquitoes. Gosnold himself died within months of arriving but the settlement survived. Historians now speculate that if the British had not made this positive move, the east coast of America would have become Spanish possessions, and the USA would have been very, very different!
The artwork was commissioned from York-based artist Dan Savage, and unveiled on 25 October 2007. It depicts various relevant details such as a compass bearing, ropes, an American Indian, a mosquito, a map, a 17th century man in silhouette, tobacco and a (pixelated) portrait of a 17th century man's head - not Gosnold actually, because no known portrait of him exists.
As the Society's representative on the Public Art Group, I remember the pleasure we had in seeing the artist's proposals. My only contribution was to suggest that his map of Cape Cod should be changed to the coastline of Virginia and the James River. Having looked at the work again recently, I thought that I'd like to share my continuing enthusiasm with members more widely. I think it's “worth a detour” as Michelin guidebooks say.