Arrival of the Advance Training Centre Sculpture

By Ailish O'Sullivan

26th March 2021 · 1 min read

Last week saw the arrival of the sculpture, created by Jenny Pickford for the Advance training centre. The sculpture captures the history and research of MRC Harwell perfectly and creates a vibrant welcome for all training delegates.

Jenny, a blacksmith with a background in fine art, creates sculptures that are displayed across the globe, including China, Australia and America. Jenny’s art, inspired by the countryside where she grew up, reflects the strength and fragility of nature. This inspiration has led Jenny to cleverly use a mixture of materials to create her sculptures. The combination of glass and metal, using both modern and traditional techniques, creates interesting contrasts between the fragility of the glass and the strength of the ironwork. Jenny experiments with different glass techniques and her sculptures include intricate designs that allow light to shine through and reflect the environment around them.

To create the Advance sculpture, Jenny took inspiration from the story of Mary Lyon and her discovery of X-Chromosome Inactivation in 1961 at MRC Harwell. The sculpture has long glass spears with unique double helix air twists within it. These glass spears are surrounded by 150 metal X-chromosome shapes, each with DNA shapes cut within them. A fantastic tribute to the history of MRC Harwell’s mammalian genetic research and the ground-breaking work of Mary Lyon.

Jenny said:

“This project was really interesting pulling art and science together, it was exciting making something that tells the story of the discovery of X-chromosome inactivation and the impact it’s had on MRC Harwell.”


Sara Wells, Director of the Mary Lyon Centre, commented:

“The installation of this sculpture marks another milestone of the opening of the Advance training centre at MRC Harwell. The sculpture’s shape and form represents the history and achievements of research at MRC Harwell especially of Mary Lyon, and reflects our ongoing commitment to genetics training.”

View the sculpture arriving on site: https://youtu.be/NC6PxYksQD8