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.