Tom Dale, ‘Bison - Trumpet’, 2013. Photo © Carl Newland Photography. Courtesy of the artist, Arnolfini & Bristol City Council.


The Bristol County Ground has been home to Gloucestershire Cricket Club since the latter part of the 19th century. The club was founded by Dr Henry Mills Grace – the father of Gloucestershire’s most famous cricketing son, W G Grace. The ground underwent a major redevelopment in 2013 with the addition of residential, conference and events spaces, led by Linden Homes Western. As part of the development, artist Tom Dale was appointed to develop a temporary artwork for the hoardings around the site linked to his public art work for the neighbouring Ashley Down primary school.


Completed on June 14th 2013, Bison-Trumpet consisted of three giant colour swatches, which were designed to cover almost 40 metres of hoardings. Based on colour samples taken from the site, each of the swatches contained six colours chosen by the artist. These colours were then matched to commercially available paints, to speculate or propose absurd connections between the sometimes poetic and sometimes baffling names given to paint colours by their manufacturers. Why a certain shade of brown evokes ‘Bison’ or a specific shade of yellow suggests ‘Trumpet’ is, its seems rarely explained, which the artist used to examine and highlight the tentative ways in which we speculate on the connections between ideas and objects and the systems of categorization and definition we use to arrange knowledge.

For Dale, the attempt to attach the concrete image of an object like a trumpet to something as abstract as a colour became a curiosity. Understood in a broader context ‘Bison – Trumpet’ echoes the way in which we are constantly developing new methods to connect and arrange knowledge, whether through history, science, literature or art.  The colour swatches remind us of our desire to fix meaning to objects. More often than not such systems of meaning can be seen as exclusive rather than inclusive, so it was particularly important that the playfulness and humour of the commission offered the public the freedom to speculate on the connections between colour (visual) and name (text).

Given that the work was situated on a hoarding - something that obscures your view - it was also important for Dale that the work opened up connections and ideas about what lied beyond the barrier. The proximity of the hoarding to Ashley Down Primary (which the artist was also engaged to develop an art work for) was an additional factor; questioning just what is meaningful and important is something that originates in childhood and which is then carried forward by us throughout our adult lives.


Tom Dale

Recently named the Guardian newspaper’s ‘Artist of the Week’, Dales work regularly appears in publications such as Flash Art, Art Review, Time Out, and Dazed & Confused. A Graduate of the Goldsmiths College, London he has been nominated for a number of awards most recently the Latitude festivals Contemporary Art Award.  He is currently completing his PhD at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge. Recent and forthcoming solo exhibitions include CAN, Neuchatel (2012), NIMAC, Cyprus (2013) Poppy Sebire, London (2013), and John Hansard Gallery, Southampton (2014)". Dale’s work is witty, diverse and is concerned with grand gestures and contradictions. Sculptures inspired by Evel Knievel: twisting stunt ramps emblazoned with stars and stripes , a series of photographs probing the history of contrasting ideologies on a Polish housing estate and recently his installation at Ham House, ‘Banquet of Sound’, which traces the contradictory, tangled branches of culture to do with learning, democracy and instability. Dale's most witty expression of the empty grand gesture is an early work from 2005, in which a large grey ball is attached to the wheel from an office chair. Instead of becoming more effective, both objects are rendered lame and immobile. It's a case study in absurd overstatement. Forthcoming solo exhibitions include The John Hansard Gallery, Southampton, 2014 and NIMAC, Cyprus, 2015.

Gloucestershire Cricket Ground

Gloucestershire Cricket is one of the 18 first class County Cricket Clubs in the UK. It was established in 1870, with WG Grace a founding member, one of the most famous and influential cricketers in history. The Club is based in the heart of Bristol, in the Bishopston area, just off the Gloucester Road. The Bristol County Ground, underwent a complete redevelopment which is designed to secure International Cricket at Bristol and transform the club's facilities for match days and for events on non match days. A key part of this development was a new Pavilion which was opened in August 2013. The Pavilion offers state of the art media and hospitality facilities and enjoys superb views of the ground from behind the bowlers arm.


  • Commissioner

    Bristol City Council

  • Produced by


  • Partners

    Arnolfini, Bristol City Council

  • Supported by

    Linden Homes Western