The PMSA aims to heighten public appreciation of Britain's public sculpture, and to contribute to its preservation, protection and promotion. It seeks to achieve this through several projects that include: the National Recording Project, the Sculpture Journal, Save our Sculpture and the Marsh Award for Public Sculpture.
The PMSA is a registered charity, which relies on the voluntary work of its members. Its many projects and publications are funded by subscriptions and by the generosity of a number of individuals, institutions and grant-giving bodies. Established in 1991, it aims to bring together individuals and organisations with a mutual interest in public sculpture and monuments, their production, preservation and history.
The Association seeks to encourage public awareness of Britain's monumental heritage - past, present and future - through activities, publications and dialogue; and it campaigns for listing, preservation, protection and restoration.
The current time-span, beginning from around the Stuart period, extends to new commissions of the present day and also includes the three 13th century Eleanor Crosses that survive in Geddington, Hardingstone and Waltham Cross, as well as other medieval work still surviving in public places.
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PUBLIC SCULPTURE: WHAT COUNTS
What counts as public, or outdoor, sculptures and monuments in the PMSA? We count landscape or urban features that are sculptural and/or commemorative, or both. Not buildings, although we count commemorative clock towers, fountains, road markers (if they are substantially commemorative or sculptural). Because the prehistoric period is a different specialisation, we date the works roughly from the Stuart period. However, Oxford and Cambridge show medieval sculptures over college gateways, and a small number of medieval sculptures can be seen in London. The three remaining Eleanor Crosses, their bodywork and sculptures heavily restored, date from the thirteenth century. But earlier sculptures – Celtic, Anglo-Saxon or Roman – do not come into the PMSA's field.
We do not count church monuments, nor sculptures and monuments in cemeteries and churchyards unless they are publicly-subscribed, commemorative pieces that happen to have been sited there. We are conscious of the great importance of these latter examples but for the time being the PMSA is content for the specialists in these extensive subjects to support their own.
The PMSA recognises, also, the importance of war monuments as part of the tradition of public commemorative sculptures and monuments. We have a sister-relationship with the National Inventory of War Memorials and with the War Memorials Trust (see Links).
There are, and always will be, anomalies. Some of us, for example, feel that Epstein's superb St Michael and the Devil on the front of Coventry Cathedral has such an impact on the street scene that it should count in the PMSA as a public sculpture. Some would count the contents of sculpture parks and the landscaped surroundings of stately homes open to the public, such as Rousham (Oxfordshire) or Stowe in Bucks. Some sculptures on private estates such as Sandringham, where Adrian Jones's sculpture of Edward VII's favourite race horse Persimmon can be seen from the public highway, could be counted as public sculpture, since they too are in the public eye.
In the , these criteria vary slightly from volume to volume.
After extensive discussions between Trustees, the Fountain Society decided to discontinue its operations at the end of 2011.