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Victorian iron steam ship vs world's biggest jelly art

ss Great Britain floating in jelly

Victorian steamship the ss Great Britain will ‘float’ on a giant sea of neon lime green jelly – for Museums at Night (May 18 and 19).

The 55,000-litre jelly installation is the latest brainchild of the artists Bompas & Parr, also known as the ‘Jellymongers’. Part of the Museums at Night 2012 ‘Connect10’ initiative, it is believed to be the world’s biggest ever jelly art.

Tickets for the Museums at Night event, which runs from 6pm to 9pm on May 18 and 19, cost just £6 (adult), £3 (child) and under-fives have free admission.

Jelly and the historic iron ship will combine to create a stunning artwork. The Jellymongers’ team will be wearing red jump suits designed by ‘Tour de Force’, a designer brand popular with Lady Gaga and Jessie J. The team will mix and pour the lime green and fragranced jelly – inspired by the historic use of lime by sailors to prevent the vitamin deficiency disease scurvy – onto the glass plate surrounding Brunel’s ss Great Britain, in Bristol. Usually covered in water (and not jelly), this acts as the roof of a giant dehumidification chamber. The Victorian ship appears to be afloat, and visitors can descend below the glass ‘sea’.

Previous work from Bompas & Parr includes a jelly replica of St Paul’s Cathedral, a giant jelly cocktail lake and a 30ft climbing wall made of chocolate. Celebrity clients have included the music producer Mark Ronson and pop star Peter Andre.

Brunels’ ss Great Britain will open late from 6pm to 9pm on May 18 and 19. Visitors can also step back in time in the Dockyard Museum, explore the ss Great Britain, see objects held in the Brunel Institute, and listen to talks from staff and volunteers.

Highlights of the May 18 evening launch will include the switching-on of neon lights below the glass ‘sea’, speeches from Bompas and Parr, and gifts of cog-shaped jellies for visitors. Mermaids are planned, but not yet confirmed.

The ss Great Britain Trust’s Director of Marketing, Communications and Development, Sally Cordwell, commented: “Arguably, this is the most ambitious special event Brunel’s ss Great Britain has ever held. Bompas and Parr are two of the UK’s most exciting and creative artists. They are helping us to push the boundaries for museums, and to introduce Brunel’s ss Great Britain to new audiences.

“Linking modern art with an historic iron ship is ingenious. We have of course no way of knowing what Brunel might have thought of the 55,000 litres of lime green neon jelly around his ship. We do know, however, that he was himself a talented artist as well as an engineer, and was never afraid of a challenge.”

She added: “Our challenge is to ensure that the artists are able to make spectacular art, whilst not damaging the multi-million pound dehumidification system. This is a truly once-in-a-lifetime event, and there are only a limited number of tickets available.”

• Only 500 tickets per night: £6 (adult); £3 (children); under-fives FREE.
Buy tickets online, in the Brunel’s ss Great Britain gift shop; call 0117 926 0680 in office hours.