Friday 15 November 2019

1,300ft sculpture to open to public

The godess-like Northumberlandia landscape sculpture will be open to the public from September
The godess-like Northumberlandia landscape sculpture will be open to the public from September

A 1,300ft-long reclining woman which is the world's largest human form sculpted into the landscape is to open to the public next month.

People will be able to walk over the goddess-like Northumberlandia, which can be seen by pilots coming in to land at nearby Newcastle airport.

Passengers on the East Coast main line and drivers on the A1 have noticed as her curves took shape over the past two years.

The £3 million sculpture has been shaped from the rock, earth and waste from Shotton surface mine, outside Cramlington, Northumberland, on land owned by Viscount Ridley and worked by the Banks Group.

Northumberlandia was formed, amid some controversy, as a lasting legacy in recompense for the disruption caused by coal extraction on such a grand scale, as the mine is the largest of its kind in England.

It will soon be open to the public after a private ceremony with the Princess Royal on Monday, and it is hoped that people will warm to her curves.

The Angel of the North, 12 miles south, took a while to become loved, and Katie Perkin of the Banks Group believes Northumberlandia could rival her popularity. "People have already taken Northumberlandia to their hearts," she said.

There was no intention to make a Pagan figure or mimic any ancient fertility symbols, despite her breasts which rise almost 100ft above the ground.

"Charles Jencks, the American artist who designed her, saw the far-off Cheviot Hills which look like a reclining woman," Ms Perkin said. "He has borrowed from the landscape and drawn those curves and lines into the form. Northumberlandia is just a lady, she doesn't represent anything, but I think it's understandable that people have their own interpretations."

Wayne Daley, a Conservative representing Cramlington on Northumberland County Council, said thousands of locals opposed the opencast mine. He claimed the landform was a "clever" way for the bosses to save money on clearing the spoil.

PA Media

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