I’ve only seen The Angel of the North from a distance when I was travelling to Scotland by train, but it manages to impress even with just a fleeting glimpse.
Twenty metres tall, the angel spreads its 54 metres wingspan (almost as wide as an aircraft) on a hilltop that used to be the site of colliery pithead baths. It can be seen by more than 90,000 drivers a day on the A1 – more than one person every second – and by passengers on the East Coast main line from London to Edinburgh.
Antony Gormley, the sculptor responsible for the best known and, probably, best loved example of public art in the UK, is often asked why an angel:
…The only response I can give is that no-one has ever seen one and we need to keep imagining them. The angel has three functions – firstly a historic one to remind us that below this site coal miners worked in the dark for two hundred years, secondly to grasp hold of the future, expressing our transition from the industrial to the information age, and lastly to be a focus for our hopes and fears – a sculpture is an evolving thing.”
This picture was taken by Gavin Meikle of Portsmouth