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Administrators of a public park in the UK are asking for the donation of a forklift and about $2,200 in cash to repair an iconic statue honoring Sir Isaac Newton’s discovery of gravity.
Since 2010, the statue “Isaac’s Apple” has stood in Wyndham Park, in Grantham, England, not far from the spot where the famed English physicist may have been inspired to develop his law of gravity after observing an apple fall from a tree. The sculpture depicts a hand holding an apple, as if in contemplation.
Less than five years after the wooden statue was unveiled, the man who sculpted it, Nigel Sardeson, said it is showing signs of rot and is covered in fungus. Now park officials are asking the pubic for help in the form of a forklift to move the sculpture and money to renovate it.
Urgently Needed Repairs
Sardeson carved the hand portion of the sculpture from an old horse chestnut tree that was already diseased but not decayed. The apple was sculpted separately and was later placed in the hand.
To save the sculpture, the artist wants to cut it from its base and remove it with a forklift so that it can be loaded onto a truck and taken to his workshop. The sculpture is scheduled to be removed in February — should a volunteer forklift be found — and the repairs probably will take several months, Sardeson told the Grantham Journal. The sculpture also will be treated with a weatherproof preservative.
The Apple’s Core
The artist said the nature of the repairs will depend on what is discovered after the hand is removed and he is able to look inside. Unlike oak, horse chestnut is not a particularly durable type of wood, but an inspection of the sculpture found the wood to be hard and sound, he said.
If the money can’t be raised or a forklift isn’t found, the sculpture could dry out and be beyond saving, Sardeson said.
Home of ‘The’ Tree?
“Isaac’s Apple” is the centerpiece of the garden, which sits next to the River Witham and opened in 2005. The park also features tea rooms and a prize-winning playground.
Grantham is home to The King’s School, where Newton was educated as a boy. Although his mother removed him from the school in 1659, the school’s headmaster, Henry Stokes, convinced her to send him back so that he could complete his education.
According to legend, Newton became the top-ranked student at the school after being motivated by a desire for revenge against a schoolyard bully. He distinguished himself during his early educational years by building sundials and models of windmills.
The story about an apple falling on Newton’s head during a picnic being the inspiration for his theory of gravitation may be a mythical — although Newton himself repeated it frequently during his lifetime — but many have claimed that the actual tree was one that was purchased by The King’s School, uprooted, and planted in the headmaster’s garden.