Thousands of public sculptures put online for first time

  • Published
Angel of the NorthImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The Angel of the North in Gateshead is one of the more than 13,500 sculptures digitised

More than 13,500 public sculptures have been photographed and put online for the first time.

Art education charity Art UK took 140,000 photographs of works by artists such as Antony Gormley, Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth.

The collection was unveiled at the Water Gardens in Harlow, Essex, which is home to Eve, an 1882 bronze by Auguste Rodin.

Andrew Ellis, director of Art UK, said: "The UK has a rich and enviable collection of public sculptures."

Image source, Mike Longhurst/Art UK
Image caption,
Winning Shot by Christine Charlesworth in Woking, Surrey, depicts Paralympian and TV presenter Ade Adepitan
Image source, Mike Longhurst/Art UK
Image caption,
Out of Order by David Mach, a dozen iconic red telephone boxes falling on to each other, was installed in 1989 in Kingston upon Thames

The five-year project features famous figures including Princess Pocahontas, Captain Mainwaring played by Arthur Lowe in sitcom Dad's Army, and The Bee Gees.

Just over 2,600 of the public sculptures depict or commemorate named people with more than 460 of those being of royalty.

Image source, Patricia Tutt/Art UK
Image caption,
The Bee Gees by Andy Edwards is in Douglas, Isle of Man, the Gibb brothers' birthplace
Image source, John Grubb/Art UK
Image caption,
Earthbound: Plant in Downing Street, Cambridge is one of many works by Antony Gormley in the collection

Queen Victoria was the monarch with most public monuments and sculptures dedicated to her, with more than 175 statues, fountains, bandstands, clock towers and other artworks erected in her name.

But Art UK found just 17% of the sculptures that depict or commemorate named people were dedicated to women, with 5.5% to both men and women and the rest to men.

Image source, Susan Dawson/Art UK
Image caption,
Eat for England, in Seaton Valley, Northumberland, was put in a place where food is produced by artist Bob Budd
Image source, Tracy Jenkins/Art UK
Image caption,
Eve in Harlow, Essex, is by Auguste Rodin who is best known for The Thinker

Just under 2% of those artworks that depict or commemorate people are of those from ethnically diverse backgrounds, the charity's work found.

As well as sculptures, the collection also includes water troughs, drinking fountains, clock towers, tombstones and obelisks.

Image source, Colleen Rowe Harvey/Art UK
Image caption,
British resistance agent during World War Two Noor Inayat Khan was depicted by Karen Newman in Gordon Square in Bloomsbury in London
Image source, Alan Greenwell/Art UK
Image caption,
SHIP by Anna Gillespie is in Halfmoon Bay, Heysham, Lancashire and celebrates Morecambe Bay's maritime heritage

Mr Ellis said it was not only significant for the Stoke-on-Trent-based charity but "also for anyone who cares about public art or simply wants to find out more about that sculpture they walk past each day".

The charity said it has almost completed recording all the sculptures of the last 1,000 years inside UK public collections, with 36,000 online.

Image source, Bruce Hobbs/Art UK
Image caption,
Newlyn Fisherman Memorial was made by by Tom Leaper and is in Newlyn, Cornwall and was built to honour fishermen who died

Find BBC News: East of England on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. If you have a story suggestion email

Related Internet Links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.