Stunning sculptures: Tyneside's best public art

We now turn our focus to Tyneside's 'stunning' pieces of public art. Peter Bath reports.

Peter Bath
13th December 2020

First we gave you the shit, now we give you the stunning.

Rutherford Memorial Fountain, Bigg Market.

“Water is best” reads the inscription on this defunct but elegant drinking fountain. Somewhat ironic when read stumbling past at 3 AM, but a helpful hangover remedy all the same. 

Man with Potential Selves: Andrew Curtis
Floating Man, Grainger Street

Now this guy’s cool. Just hovering on his side, looking like it’s the most natural thing in the world. Part of a series called Man with Potential Selves by Sean Henry, he’s joined by another man standing still, and one walking. I walk past these statues most days, and without fail I think they’re real people (testament to the artist’s impressive realism and my impressive stupidity). Now, I’m not sure what it means, but it’s wacky, and I like wacky. It always raises a little smile as I think ‘what’s this fella doing up there?’

Angel of the North, Gateshead

This was controversially included in our previous article of Tyneside’s worst art, but I’m giving it a second chance. The North East gets a bad press, when it gets any mention in the press at all, so to have this instantly recognisable, positive symbol is actually really important. It shows the area’s pride in its industrial heritage, but it’s also weird, and colossal, and kind of spiritual, going beyond stereotypes of coal mines and Newkie Brown.

Second African War Memorial, Haymarket
Second African Memorial: Andrew Curtis

The second angel on the list, this time with a sword. Admittedly, I’m not sure about the ethics of commemorating an imperial war in which the British arguably invented concentration camps, but I didn’t know it was a Boer War memorial until I was researching this list, so I think we can appreciate it independently.

Grey’s Monument, Monument

Iconic. I would say that perhaps he’s too high up. I mean, he’s actually quite hard to see. But all the same, it’s a symbol of the city. Earl Grey himself seemed like a pretty good egg too, seeing as his government abolished slavery. He deserves all 135 ft of that plinth.

Featured Image: Pixabay

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