The Magnificent Angel of the North
The Angel of the North
The Angel of the North is the outstanding landmark to the entrance to Tyneside. Its wide, open arms
Wider than a Boeing 767 but definitely not meant to fly
give visitors a warm hearted Geordie welcome as they reach Gateshead, whether they come by road or rail. The statue is now a World famous icon of the North East of England.
With a wingspan wider than a Boeing 767, the 20m high by 54m wide steel sculpture is now one of the World’s best known and most controversial landmarks. To stop the angel literally taking off in strong winds, the sculpture has been designed to withstand gusts of up to 100 miles an hour.
Its silhouette at the head of the Team Valley rivals that of the famous Tyne Bridge. It can be clearly seen by more than 100,000 drivers a day on the A1 – more than
one a second, which slows the traffic dramatically – and by passengers on the East Coast main line from London to Edinburgh
The Angel of the North has been manufactured from a special weather resistant Cor-ten steel which contains a small amount of copper. The surface has oxidised with age producing a rich red, russet brown.
The Angel has World wide connections, Ove Arup & Partners who advised on the project had previously worked on the Sydney Opera House and the Lloyds building in London. The Angel was manufactured by Hartlepool Steel Fabrications who have worked on producing North Sea oil rigs and have recently finished renovating Middlesborough’s Transporter Bridge which is in itself a very famous landmark because of its unique design and technical originality
The Artist Antony Gormley
Antony Gormley was born in 1950, and is at the forefront of a generation of celebrated younger British artists who emerged during the 1980s. He has exhibited
work around the world and has major public works in the USA, Japan, Australia, Norway and Eire. Public work in Britain can be seen in locations as diverse as the crypt at Winchester Cathedral and Birmingham city centre. In 1994 he won the prestigious Turner Prize. His work is currently on show in the Victoria and Albert Museum, Tate Gallery, British Museum and the Henry Moore Sculpture Gallery in Leeds.
Gormley has said of the Angel: “The hill top site is important and has the feeling of being a megalithic mound. When you think of the mining that was done underneath the site, there is a poetic resonance. Men worked beneath the surface in the dark. Now in the light, there is a celebration and visibility of this industry. “The face will not have individual features. The effect of the piece is in the alertness, the awareness of space and the gesture of the wings – they are not flat, they’re about 3.5 degrees forward and give a sense of embrace.” “It is important to me that the Angel is rooted in the ground – the complete antithesis of what an angel is, floating about in the ether. It has an air of mystery. You make things because they cannot be said.” “I’m just very interested in loosening things up and making the world a more exciting place to live.”