A monumental work honouring Queen Elizabeth II sited on the remote moors of Northumberland in north-east England has moved a step closer with a call for donors. The proposed work, Ascendant: The Elizabeth Landmark by the sculptor Simon Hitchens, is three times the size of Antony Gormley’s towering Angel of the North (1998).
According to the project website, “the vision behind the project is that of Viscount and Viscountess Devonport, the owners of the Ray Estate, who have gifted just shy of 25 acres around Cold Law Hill on which the landmark is to be constructed.”
The statement adds: “Together with their associates, they have assembled a first-class project team; funded the project competition; funded the development, design and professional costs leading to the granting of planning permission; this represents a prior committed investment of over £300,000 to date.” Other benefactors are now sought for the scheme (an official fundraising campaign will launch later this year).
The piece will consist of a thin metal spike protruding from the earth; a walkway built into the hillside will allow visitors to walk beneath the vast structure. “The weathering steel sculpture has 96 lateral fins, one for each year of the life of Queen Elizabeth II,” says the project statement.
“The sculpture resembles the hill beneath; it is a perfect jigsaw fit to the topography of this unique hill,” Hitchens told us previously. The work was granted planning approval by the UK government’s planning inspectorate in 2021.
The work sparked controversy initially. A local campaign group known as Keep the Wannies Wild opposed the public art piece, saying on its Facebook page that its members “believe that Cold Law is not a suitable location for such an invasive and industrial piece of art”.