As a West-Country boy, I spent many summers holidaying in Devon and am intrigued by plans for the towering statue ‘Verity’ which have just been revealed by British artist Damien Hirst, alongside his proposal that the sculpture be installed as an ‘Angel Of The West’ in the town of Ilfracombe along the Devon coast of Southwest England. With an internal frame of stainless steel, the bronze-finished figure is of a pregnant women standing atop a plinth of books, holding a glass-fiber sword above her head with her left hand and a set of scales behind her back as she gazes out seaward. The work, called in the Ilfracombe application ‘a monumental modern allegory of truth and justice’, is thought to be the most recent piece in Hirst’s ‘Virgin Mother’ series.
At 20.25 meters (66 feet, four inches) in height, ‘Verity’ stands ten inches taller than Antony Gormley’s ‘Angel Of The North’, erected in 1998in Gateshead, Northeast England. Hirst has promised town councilmen that they can have ‘Verity’– which currently exists in three sections– on a loan of 20 years if they grant him the necessary planning permission. Already drawing controversy because of the high teen pregnancy rate in Ilfracombe, the statue would be placed along the edge of the harbor and bordered by a parking lot, about 100 yards away from Damien Hirst’s local restaurant 11 The Quay.
Ilfracombe officials are expected to make a decision about the sculpture in september, and ‘verity’ could be installed by the end of the year.