We spoke to artist and sculptor, Simon Hitchens whose winning proposal to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II and The Commonwealth will see a 55m sculpture, made from Corten weathering steel, erected on Cold Law hill, Northumberland. Read on for more details on The Elizabeth Landmark: Ascendant…Read More
Simon Hitchens has been selected by Viscount Devonport of Northumberland to create a 55m public sculpture and walking trail
West Country-based sculptor, Simon Hitchens is the artist chosen by Lord Devonport to realise his vision for a monument to Queen Elizabeth II and The Commonwealth. After a month of exhibitions in which shortlisted artists Simon Hitchens, Colin Rose and Peter J. Evans displayed their interpretations of Lord Devonport’s idea, which originated some 25 years ago, Hitchens’ steel sculpture has been chosen to be taken forward to a pre-planning application.
Speaking of the developments, Lord Devonport said, “The quality of the three proposals was extremely high and it was very important to me to gather public feedback, from the website and our exhibitions which is why we extended our community consultations in July.”
The public feedback echoed that of the selection panel with Hitchens’ proposal coming out on top, as the unanimous favourite. As such, a team of engineers will now work alongside the artist to develop a detailed technical design which will form part of the pre-planning application required by Northumberland County Council.
“With a project of this size and scale,” explained Lord Devonport, “the pre-planning application process allows us to identify some of the specifics of the site and the construction. For example, through some detailed work we have carried out with Ordinance Survey, we have discovered that the optimum height for the landmark is 55m rather than 60m we originally anticipated. With the former being the precise height difference between the landmark site at Cold Law and the nearby Wanney Craggs, this will sit symbiotically within the landscape.”
The inspiration for the project, which will ultimately encompass the 55m high landmark as well as walking trails, is the reign of Queen Elizabeth II and her leadership of The Commonwealth. The landmark will celebrate unity, diversity and the shared heritage between The Commonwealth of Nations and will feature artistic input from writers, creatives, artists and sculptors from various Commonwealth countries.
If and when organisers receive permission to build the landmark and national fundraising campaign will be initiated to fund what is expected to be a £2m venture.
Ambitious new landmark for Northumberland set to be three times the height of The Angel of the North
Local developers plan a 60m high landmark to attract visitors and to celebrate the reign of Queen Elizabeth II
Three artists are developing proposals for a major new landmark which could become a fantastic destination in rural Northumberland to encourage visitors from far and wide to explore and contemplate the Northumbrian landscape.
The project aims to benefit local communities through increased tourism. The project is named after Queen Elizabeth II, not only the longest-lived and longest-reigning British monarch but also the world's longest-reigning queen and female head of state and current monarch. Add to that the fact that Queen Elizabeth II is the oldest and longest-serving current head of state and one has to ask, “if she doesn’t deserve a monument, who does?”
That’s exactly the question Lord Devonport of Northumberland has been asking himself for the better part of two decades, and now, as we reach 70 years since The Commonwealth established that all member states should be "free and equal under the guidance of Queen Elizabeth II”, he is putting plans in action to create such a sculpture.
Lord Devonport, or Terence Kearley, 3rd Viscount Devonport as he is also known, is a philanthropist and retired architect, known in Northumberland for his regeneration of the Ray Demesne estate on which he has restored buildings, replaced dilapidated livestock shelters and replanted thousands of native trees.
“I have a great admiration for Queen Elizabeth II,” explains Viscount Devonport, “she is the longest-serving monarch, reigning for 66 years to date, she has navigated the Royal Family and The Commonwealth through enormous change and times of great uncertainty. She personally moved The Commonwealth into a free, equal and voluntary group of member states united by language, history, and culture. Unifying them under shared values of democracy, free speech and human rights. What she has achieved on the global stage, is a true inspiration.”
The Elizabeth Landmark, as it will be known, is set to be 60m high and, following a period of technical engineering development, will be situated atop Cold Law, a small hillside on the Ray Demesne estate, in between the five parishes of Corsenside, Otterburn, Great Bavington, Kirkwelpington, West Woodburn and Elsdon. The hill is outside of the Northumberland National Park area but has a fascinating industrial history linked to engineering pioneers of the region Lord Armstrong and Charles Parsons. It will be visible on the horizon from the A68 and surrounding countryside, and with plans for a purpose-built car-park, visitors will be able to walk around the landmark, learning more about The Commonwealth and our shared heritage through a series of commissioned poems .
“I hope we can work with, writers and poets from across The Commonwealth when the final design for The Elizabeth Landmark is decided,” explains Viscount Devonport, “they will contribute to the whole experience of the landmark, with installations along the road to the site. This is a celebration of shared values, of a connected global community. In what is an increasingly fractured world, The Commonwealth is a unifying force, led by Queen Elizabeth II.”
Viscount Devonport has funded three acclaimed artists to produce a proposal detailing how they would tackle his ambitious project.
The artists are; Colin Rose based near Alnwick who is famed for his many public sculpture pieces around the region, Peter J. Evans based in Newcastle, and Simon Hitchens, based in the West Country, a sculptor for some 20 years with public installations around the UK.
Residents, visitors and interested parties will be able to visit the exhibition of proposals in Otterburn, West Woodburn and Kirkwhelpington throughout May, as well as view them online at elizabethlandmark.co.uk and the public are encouraged to ask questions and give their opinions on The Elizabeth Landmark idea and proposals after which an artist will be chosen to take the project forward.
Exhibitions are free to the public and the organisers invite the public to share their views and opinions on the artist suggestions. Find all the exhibition dates here.
“A project on this scale will need a great deal of planning,” Viscount Devonport continues, “the foundations themselves will likely need to be some 60m to ensure the landmark can handle the high winds that are so useful for the wind farm on the estate! We estimate some twelve months of planning and development exercises before we will be able to confirm exactly what The Elizabeth Landmark will look like. This is just part one of a three-part journey; initial ideas and design in 2018, detailed planning and development in 2018/19, and hopefully the announcement of the final design in spring 2019.”
The cost of The Elizabeth Landmark is estimated at some £1m, which Viscount Devonport asserts will not come from the public purse. “Without knowing yet the artist who will be chosen to take the design forward, we can’t know the cost of the creation of this sculpture, but we do know that we want to create a long-lasting, proud monument that will celebrate our Queen for many, many hundreds of years to come. We will explore our funding options in 2019 as and when we have selected the artist who will bring The Elizabeth Landmark to life.”
An ambitious new destination for Northumberland
Viscount Devonport has funded three artists to produce concept proposals for a landmark which could become a fantastic creative project in rural Northumberland that encourages visitors to explore and contemplate the landscape.
The project aims to benefit local communities through increased tourism and the landmark would be named in honour of Queen Elizabeth II who is not only the longest-lived and longest-reigning British monarch but the world’s longest-reigning queen, female head of state and current monarch.
The Elizabeth Landmark could be up to 60m high and, following a period of technical engineering development, will be situated atop Cold Law, a high hill on the Ray Estate, in between the five parishes of Corsenside, Otterburn, Great Bavington, Kirkwelpington, West Woodburn and Elsdon.
The hill is outside of the Northumberland National Park area but has a fascinating industrial history linked to engineering pioneers Lord Armstrong and Charles Parsons and ‘England’s Greatest Landscape Architect’ Capability Brown who was born nearby at Kirkharle. It will be visible on the horizon from the A68 and surrounding countryside, and with includes plans for a purpose-built carpark.
Terence Kearley, 3rd Viscount Devonport, is a philanthropist, an architect a landscape architect and champion of the rural economy. He is known in Northumberland for his regeneration of the Ray Estate on which he has built new access roads, rebuilt farms, created livestock shelters and replanted thousands of native trees.
“I have a great admiration for Queen Elizabeth II,” explains Viscount Devonport, “she is the longest-serving monarch, reigning for 66 years to date, she has navigated the Royal Family and The Commonwealth through enormous change, through times of great uncertainty.
"She personally moved The Commonwealth into a free, equal and voluntary group of member states united by language, history, culture. Unifying them under shared values of democracy, free speech, human rights. What she has achieved on the global stage, is a true inspiration.”
Site location: Cold Law
Visitors will be able to walk around the landmark, learning more about The Commonwealth and our shared heritage through a series of commissioned poems and writing from the local community. This exhibition of artists' concepts and proposals is just part one of a three-part journey:
- initial ideas, design and community exhibitions in spring 2018 detailed planning and development in 2018/19.
- the announcement of the final design in spring 2019.
- the cost of The Elizabeth Landmark will be established during the technical design phase over the coming year.