By Dan Goater
Would Dorset benefit from an Angel of the North-style sculpture overlooking its rolling fields – an Angel of the South – if you will?
It’s a question that’s prompted some lively debate and interesting responses after it was posted on social media site Reddit.
Posting in the r/Dorset subreddit, username VirusRelative asked if the county would want or benefit from a large sculpture ‘like the Angel of the North or the Elizabeth landmark’.
The top response asks if the Cerne Abbas Giant or Weymouth’s King George statue count as significantly iconic structures, with another user replying: “Cerne Abbas dude is a million times better than the Angel of the North.”
Talk of the Cerne Abbas Giant prompted another user to write: “This thread is making me imagine a Harry Hill-style dust-up between the Angel of the North and the Cerne Abbas giant – ‘I like them both, but which one is better? There’s only one way to find out. FIIIIIGHT!’”
Other commentors took the post more seriously, with one user saying the idea of installing an Angel of the North style sculpture in the county is ‘an interesting thought’ but that the authorities would have to be ‘very careful of the location’.
Another user said that any new sculpture should be ‘near enough to a town that they would get some benefit’ from passing tourism trade.
Dorset-based sculptor and photographer Steve Pallant said he would be in favour of an Angel of the North style structure that dominates the right rural landscape.
He said: “I had a similar idea to this a while ago after I visited the Five Marys burial mounds in Chaldon Herring.
“When these mounds were excavated, in one of the barrows was found a man and a woman with deer antlers on their shoulders, showing they were clearly wearing cloaks. And in another barrow, archaeologists found a single male with antlers on his shoulders.
“I thought: ‘Wouldn’t it be fantastic if you saw these antlers on the hill overlooking these burial mounds?’
“I made a maquette of what I envisioned, but we would be talking about antlers up to 50 metres tall with a viewing area inside one of them. I thought it would be an interesting way of telling the story of what was found in the barrows.”
Steve added: “We have Hardy’s Monument, it’s not really a sculpture like the Angel of the North but it shows how prominent a monument on that scale would be on the horizon.
“I’d love it. If it was built right, I think that would be fantastic.
“Some people would say: ‘Let’s leave sleepy little Dorset as it is’ but people said the same thing about the Angel of the North before it went up.
“Some people hated that idea at first but now people love it.”
By Dan Goater