1479 Plates

Layout 11479 Plates by Chris Tipping is an extraordinary piece of public art consisting of a 9m x 5m map of 788 bone china dinner plates, exploring the relationship between present day engineering and mining technology, stone mines heritage, natural history, and two 18th century entrepreneurs, Ralph Allen and Josiah Wedgwood. The wall of plates was commissioned by Bath and North East Somerset Council to commemorate the structural infill of Combe Down mine that provided the stone for the building of the city of Bath. It was exhibited at the Octagon in Bath’s Milsom Place, 22 October – 18 November 2009. At the end of the exhibition many of the plates were gifted to the residents of Combe Down Village who’s houses appear on the map.

Katie worked closely with Chris, translating layers of digital data from geological surveys and ordnance survey, and hand-drawn elements derived from archaeological finds and the cultural influence of mining in Combe Down village, into 788 individual plates that make up the artist’s map and each with a distinct aesthetic quality of their own. The deepest elements of the mine are drawn to the surface creating an island populated with the flora, fauna and architecture of the mine’s history.


The design was created using Adobe Illustrator and the design files were printed and fired onto UK manufactured bone china plates by Digital Ceramic Systems in Stoke-on-Trent.



Bunnell, Katie (2010) 1479 Plates: Crafting Collaboration. In: Design and Craft: a history of convergences and divergences: 7th Conference of the International Committee of Design History and Design Studies, Brussels, Belgium.


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