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Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, Liliae

Liliae is a ceramic and stone relief sculpture commissioned by Corpus Christi College, University of Cambridge, curated by Modus Operandi. The form of the lily is derived from the three lilies on the Corpus Christi College Arms, which also features a pelican, represented in a 1949 stone carving nearby the Liliae commission.


Liliae features an arrangement of six ceramic plates, each with a floral imprint based on beautiful historical botanical drawings of lily species in the Parker Library at Corpus Christi. The six different types of lily depicted together within a single outline creates a kind of hybrid plant, evoking the horticultural technique of grafting.


Each ceramic plate has a unique brightly coloured semi translucent glaze, which highlights the lyrical lines of the original botanical drawings. This is set into a Purbeck Spangle stone backing, a Jurassic limestone subtly revealing marine fossil shells.


The relief can be viewed close-up inside by the Old Hall and also illuminated after sunset through the windows from the garden in the original Old Court, which dates back to the formation of the college in 1352.



William Cobbing

Title of work



Corpus Christi College, Cambridge





Image credit

'Liliae', by William Cobbing. Image: David Valinsky