2MS Series No.1 sculpture


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
Challenge House, Sherwood Drive, Bletchley, Buckinghamshire, MK3 6DP


© Crown Copyright and database right 2020. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2020. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1431445.pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 20-Oct-2020 at 04:26:41.


Statutory Address:
Challenge House, Sherwood Drive, Bletchley, Buckinghamshire, MK3 6DP

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Milton Keynes (Unitary Authority)
West Bletchley
National Grid Reference:


'2MS Series No.1', welded steel sculpture of 1970 by Bernard Schottlander, in the grounds of Sherwood House (now Challenge House).

Reasons for Designation

The welded steel sculpture '2MS Series No.1', of 1970 by Bernard Schottlander, in the grounds of Sherwood House (now Challenge House), is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * Artistic interest: scale, colour and equipoise are exploited to create a striking and surreal piece of outdoor sculpture; * Historic interest: an example of the Milton Keynes Development Corporation’s programme of acquiring art for public display in the new town; * Sculptor: an important work by the acclaimed abstract sculptor Bernard Schottlander.


The period after 1945 saw a shift from commemorative sculpture and architectural enrichment to the idea of public sculpture as a primarily aesthetic contribution to the public realm. Sculpture was commissioned for new housing, schools, universities and civic set pieces, with the counties of Hertfordshire, London and Leicestershire and the new towns leading the way in public patronage. Thus public sculpture could be an emblem of civic renewal and social progress. By the late C20 however, patronage was more diverse and included corporate commissions and Arts Council-funded community art. The ideology of enhancing the public realm through art continued, but with divergent means and motivation.

Visual languages ranged from the abstraction of Victor Pasmore and Phillip King to the figurative approach of Elisabeth Frink and Peter Laszlo Peri, via those such as Lynn Chadwick and Barbara Hepworth who bridged the abstract/representational divide. The post-war decades are characterised by the exploitation of new – often industrial – materials and techniques including new welding and casting techniques, plastics and concrete, while kinetic sculpture and ‘ready mades’ (using found objects) demonstrate an interest in composite forms.

Milton Keynes was designated a new town in 1967 and planning control was delegated to the Milton Keynes Development Corporation (MKDC). Like earlier new towns it developed a policy of commissioning and acquiring outdoor works for public display, developing a significant collection including works by Elisabeth Frink, Liliane Lijn, Wendy Taylor and the German-born sculptor Bernard Schottlander.

'2MS Series No.1' was amongst four large-scale, welded steel works by Schottlander acquired by MKDC after a 1972 solo open-air exhibition of his work at Park Royal, London. The title ‘MS Series’ relates to Schottlander’s initials (BMS) and his chosen medium, mild steel. '2MS Series No.1' was located in the grounds of Sherwood House (1972-74, now Challenge House), an office building designed by MKDC and originally jointly occupied by MKDC and the new Borough of Milton Keynes. The piece was originally sited on an earth platform adjacent to the southern entrance but was later relocated to its present position location alongside Sherwood Drive. The other Schottlander sculptures were in 1983 re-sited at the City Gardens (later renamed the Fred Roche Gardens).

Bernard Schottlander (1924–99) was born in Mainz, Germany into a Jewish family of art enthusiasts. He fled Nazi Germany in 1939, arriving at Leeds where he worked in a factory as a welder whilst attending evening classes in sculpture at the Leeds College of Art. After war service, Schottlander became a British citizen in 1946. Subsequently he received a grant to study sculpture at the Anglo-French Centre in St John's Wood, London, followed by a course in Industrial Design at the London County Council Central School of Arts and Crafts. In 1951 he began his own industrial design workshop, notably creating the ‘Mantis’ series of lamps. In 1963 Schottlander resolved to concentrate solely on sculpture and had his first solo show in 1964 at the Architectural Association in London. He also featured in the group show 'Six Artists' at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London and had his second solo exhibition in 1966 at the influential Hamilton Galleries. A series of commissions for public outdoor works followed, combining his experiences as a maker, an industrial designer and a sculptor. By the 1960s he had developed a simple, abstract, geometric style on a scale which suggested a move from the gallery to the public realm (Worsley 2007, pg. 8).


'2MS Series No.1', a welded steel sculpture of 1970 by Bernard Schottlander, in the grounds of Sherwood House (now Challenge House).

This abstract sculpture of welded mild steel is painted bright red and is approximately 8.4m in length. Two trapezoidal forms with undulating profiles, the upper turned at 90 degrees, are balanced against each other, touching only at a single point. The weld marks have been removed, leaving a seamless form. The piece is signed 'BS / 1970'. The sculpture has no plinth and stands in the landscape.


Books and journals
Moriarty et al, C., Indoors and Out: The Sculpture and Design of Bernard Schottlander, (2007)
Strachan, W G, Open Air Sculpture in Britain: a Comprehensive Guide, (1984), p.147
V. Worsley 2007 ‘”A kind of urban furniture”: Bernard Schottlander’s sculpture’, in Indoors and Out (No. 56): The Sculpture and Design of Bernard Schottlander. The Henry Moore Foundation.


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

The listed structure is shown coloured blue on the attached map. Pursuant to s.1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’), structures attached to or within the curtilage of the listed structure (save those coloured blue on the map) are not to be treated as part of the listed structure for the purposes of the Act.

End of official listing

Your Contributions

Do you know more about this entry?

The following information has been contributed by users volunteering for our Enriching The List project. For small corrections to the List Entry please see our Minor Amendments procedure.

The information and images below are the opinion of the contributor, are not part of the official entry and do not represent the official position of Historic England. We have not checked that the contributions below are factually accurate. Please see our terms and conditions. If you wish to report an issue with a contribution or have a question please email [email protected].