A TALENTED artist is creating an army of concrete lions inspired by Bridgwater’s Castle House.

Rebecca Moss, whose project is called Guardians, has been commissioned by Somerset Art Weeks for this year’s Art Weeks Festival which takes place in October.

Rebecca has been exploring Somerset’s role in experimental concrete production, using Bridgwater’s Castle House and Somerset’s industrial history as a starting point.

The house was built in 1851 for William Ackerman, who is credited with developing the first ‘true’ Portland cement, and it is believed to be the earliest surviving example of modern reinforced concrete construction in the UK.

Rebecca’s army will be made up of 50 concrete lions moulded from one of a pair of 18th century statues which sit by the quayside in Bridgwater.

The statues are ‘Foo dog’ guardians, which are Chinese mythical symbols of guardianship and protection.

They were traditionally placed at the thresholds of buildings to ward away unwanted intruders.

Rebecca plans to install her army along the South Esplanade in Burnham-on-Sea for Somerset Art Weeks Festival, which links to the concern surrounding flood defence.

Rebecca said:”By mounting the lions near the sea wall, I want people to consider the contrast between the functional and ornamental uses of concrete.

“I want to interpret the fascinating local industrial heritage to explore the significant change that happened when ornamental features were mass-produced by pouring concrete into moulds.

“Before this change occurred, decorative architecture would have been hand sculpted in stone over a long period of time.”

The Somerset Art Weeks Festival Festival runs from October 3 to 18 and celebrates contemporary arts and artists along with the Somerset landscape.

The festival will include art installations, exhibitions and events in over 120 venues including village halls, shop windows, public gardens, schools, community venues and other locations all over the county.

For more information, visit http://somersetartworks.org.uk/artweeks15/