Autumn leaves artwork spells ‘hope’ at Lichfield Cathedral

Staffordshire’s medieval Lichfield Cathedral is to host a moving new touring art installation made up of 5,000 steel leaves designed to offer visitors a chance to reflect on the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Creating the impression of autumn leaves fallen from trees and naturally scattered by the wind, each is marked with the word HOPE, designed to symbolise the past, but also hope for the future.

From the end of October for just over three weeks visitors to Lichfield Cathedral can view the new touring artwork called ‘The Leaves of the Trees’ by sculptor Peter Walker, who is also Artist in Residence at Lichfield Cathedral.

Matching the mood of the moment it is designed to honour those who have died during the pandemic, and to give people the chance to pause and contemplate, as well as reflect on their own experiences.

Scattered across the floor of the Cathedral, the simple, but moving, installation uses steel for the leaves to reflect resilience and collective strength.

And as the artwork tours around the country the steel will age, rust and change colour, just as leaves do in nature when they fall each year to prepare the tree for spring and new growth.

The installation will be on show at the Cathedral from 31 October to 25 November and can be viewed as part of a sight-seeing visit, but tickets must be pre-booked (adults and children, 5-16, £2 each).

Known affectionately as the Ladies of the Vale thanks to its unusual spires, the UK’s only medieval three-spired Cathedral has a history stretching back over more than 1,300 years.

For full details about the art installation and safely visiting the Cathedral, see

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Photo Mark Pickthall