A set of Sir Antony Gormley sculptures installed on a beach have been compared to "sex toys" or "giant dog poo".
The works created by the Angel of the North sculptor were placed on the beach at Aldeburgh in August but without planning approval.
Their owner, who describes them as "fine works", is seeking retrospective permission from East Suffolk Council.
Some people on Facebook called them "much-loved" but others likened them to "something out of Ann Summers".
The four cast iron sculptures, known as Quartet, were created by Sir Antony in 2001.
They were sold to international art collector Caroline Wiseman, who has a house and gallery in Aldeburgh.
She said she bought them as they were "fine works" by Sir Antony, whom she described as "arguably Britain's most esteemed international sculptor".
Mrs Wiseman displayed the works horizontally on the beach as part of the 10th anniversary of Aldeburgh Beach Lookout and they have remained there since.
East Suffolk Council's planning statement said the display was "not a cynical attempt to circumvent the planning process but a simple misunderstanding".
People have shared their interpretations of the works on the Aldeburgh and Surrounding Area Images Facebook page.
Some likened them to to seals, shells or grenades, while another wrote they resembled "giant rabbit droppings".
A town resident, who wrote to the council in support of the works, said they were a "much-loved part of Aldeburgh beach and attract daily visitors throughout the year".
Mrs Wiseman said she was confident she would obtain planning permission.
"The best thing is that people come and have a look at them, they come to the beach and they can work out in their own minds what they are.
"If a few people think they look like sex toys then that's because they've got vivid imaginations," she said.
Aldeburgh is also home to Maggi Hambling's Scallop, a tribute to Lowestoft-born composer Benjamin Britten, that also caused controversy when it was installed.