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Damien Hirst's 'Angel of the West' could tower over Ilfracombe harbour

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: July 02, 2012

  • Photo montages show how Damien Hirst's proposed statue would look overlooking Ilfracombe harbour. Below right: the Angel of the North

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It will be Devon's answer to the Angel Of The North: a giant statue of a naked pregnant woman holding a sword above her head.

The monumental sculpture – which is a full ten inches higher than its 66ft North East counterpart – is the brainchild of controversial artist Damien Hirst, who wants to erect it in a car park at Ilfracombe harbour.

Hirst, who lives in a £3.5 million farmhouse just outside the resort, has told local councillors they can have the statue on loan for 20 years if they grant him the necessary planning permission.

It would also be a boon for Hirst's restaurant, 11 The Quay, which is just 100 yards from the proposed site.

Planners will make their decision in September, and the sculpture, which currently exists in three sections, could be in place two months later.

Councillor Mike Edmunds said: "We have got to find new ways of attracting visitors.

"We are lucky to have an artist of Damien's stature in the area and we want to start rebranding the town in the area of the arts rather than as just a traditional resort."

Another councillor, Philip Webb, added: "It is going to make a big difference to the town and the local economy.

"Damien wants to make a statement and this statue certainly does that.

"I think it's a wonderful idea and I'd be surprised if anyone opposed it."

The bronze finished figure, which has a stainless-steel frame, will hold a glass-fibre sword aloft and a pair of scales behind her back and stand on a plinth of law books, staring out to sea.

The scales and sword are similar to those carried by the Statue of Justice on the roof of the Old Bailey.

One local source last night said 47-year-old Hirst had added the books at the 11th hour to ensure it would be taller than Antony Gormley's Angel Of The North, erected in 1998.

English Heritage has no objection to Hirst's sculpture, thought to be the latest part of his Virgin Mother series, on the edge of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Historic buildings inspector Francis Kelly said: "This sounds like an important and thought-provoking project that would add a considerable amount of interest to Ilfracombe."

But council planners may have reckoned without public opinion.

Bobby Davies, 69-year-old social secretary of Ilfracombe Yacht Club, said: "Oh, please no. Tell me they're not really going to do this.

"People will come to look at it – probably to have a good laugh at our expense. Given Ilfracombe's past problems with teenage pregnancies I can't believe this is so in-your-face."

Would you like to see the statue erected in Ilfracombe? VOTE in our online poll now. Check your vote in the box - which can be found on the right-hand side of this page or visit www.thisisnorthdevon.co.uk/polls

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  • AntiStatue  |  September 18 2012, 3:09AM

    This is not art, its an atrocity. I used to visit the Town of Ilfracombe regularly with children. Never again if this is built. There has to be a religious reason why it shouldn't be allowed, there is nothing else in Ilfracombe thats even made of copper? Maybe there is something in planning Law that would allow a justified appeal? Should it be considered more widely? Is it a National monument? I will research until collapse if necessary to try and end this madness and hopefully find a way of appealing the planning consent. There must still to be time to save the situation. Maybe Hirst will think again?

    |   3
  • giera125  |  July 11 2012, 4:58PM

    Ilfracombe is a lovely place, please don't spoil it with this ugly monstosity. People come to Ilfracombe to enjoy themselves and to forget the troubles of the world they don't want to see swords. Damian Hirst is not a great artist he is an attention seeker who produces horrible works in order to shock people. RUBBISH

    |   3
  • ilfjo  |  July 04 2012, 11:19AM

    If Damien wants to spend his money in Ilfracombe GREAT it can only benefit the town. But why does if have to be a pregnant woman. For a town that sometime ago was named as one with the highest teen pregnancies in the country. Why not spend his money building an all weather feature on Capstone. Something like an indoor pool,gym, ice rink. Something that people can use when its wet and stay in Ilfracombe and SPEND. I am also in favour of his proposed houses. Again bring in more people with money to spend. Come on Damien you can afford it?

  • selestino  |  July 03 2012, 4:37PM

    I have noticed how the people who don't live in the area (excluding figgyfoster who I'm guessing is) seem to not care about the feelings of the locals who will have this rubbish forced on them and have to see this travesty everyday. Perhaps the locals should erect a a 66ft bronze dog **** in front of your house and see how you feel. This guy is not an artist, most of his "art" involves dead animals and they aren't even nice to look at and don't actually represent anything, it's just another person who is paid disgusting amounts because he is clearly mentally ill.

    |   -6
  • usagi_preppy  |  July 03 2012, 3:46PM

    People of Ilfracombe are grumbling again I see - any way we can move on, people protest it. Maybe the popularity of this in the long run will lead to development of the Harbour? Who knows. I wish people wouldn't knock things so quickly.

    |   7
  • esotericage3  |  July 03 2012, 12:34PM

    Glad you like it equity. Two comments as well. Do you have a stake in this ugly, probably masonic art?.Lol

    |   -1
  • equity2010  |  July 03 2012, 12:40AM

    Yes, it is a truly magnificent statue and the people of Ilfracombe would be extremely foolish to refuse Mr Hirst's offer to display it on the pier at Ilfracombe.

    |   4
  • equity2010  |  July 03 2012, 12:39AM

    Yes, it is a truly magnificent statue and the people of Ilfracombe would be extremely foolish to refuse Mr Hirst's offer to display it on the pier at Ilfracombe.

    |   5
  • figgyfoster  |  July 02 2012, 11:01PM

    I think it's an amazing opportunity and a beautiful piece of work. Yes please!

    |   5
  • esotericage3  |  July 02 2012, 8:10PM

    More ugly public art. The very nature of this makes me wonder what underlying significance it has. Its certainly distrubing to look at. The word vile springs to mind.

    |   -8



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