THE painstaking process of rebuilding one of Scotland’s most famous artist’s works piece by piece is now under way for experts at Edinburgh University.

The colourful Eduardo Paolozzi work which adorned the walls of Tottenham Court Road station for the past 30 years has been removed from their London site and, in Scotland for the first time, the process has begun to recreate the striking mosaic on the university campus.

Gifted by Transport for London which could not afford to incorporate the work into a revamped station, the mosaic is to be first recreated on computer before being rebuilt.

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Missing pieces will be replaced from the same Italian region where they were first sourced by Paolozzi and it is hoped people who helped the artist create the work will help in the reconstruction.


Neil Lebeter, University Art Collections Curator, said the rebuild, currently with around 30 students also helping, is a massive responsibility.

Mr Lebeter said: “I have never worked on anything like this before and I probably never will again.

“The first stage is to clean the pieces, so we have done that and numbered them and the next step is for them to be photographed and then we do the virtual reconstruction on computer.”

It is hoped the finished reconstruction will be on public display in about three years.

The mosaics, which formed arches over the escalators in the station’s main concourse are being used in university courses and in conservation training.

The mosaics were created in 1984 and contain references to computers, George Orwell’s novel 1984, rushing commuters, and objects from the nearby British Museum.

Eduardo Paolozzi - considered one of Britain’s greatest 20th century artists - is one of the founders of the Pop Art movement. Born in Leith in 1924, Paolozzi studied at Edinburgh College of Art during World War Two.


He maintained his connection with Edinburgh throughout his life.

As visiting professor to the College in the 1990s, Paolozzi would organise student trips to London, which included a visit to see the Tottenham Court Road mosaics.

The University Art Collection already contains around 150 works by Paolozzi. He is the most represented artist in the collection.

Images by Gordon Terris.