Made of sandstone in the past two years by local sculptor Joseph Hayton, Pateley Bridge’s new iconic sculptures are steeped in the area’s deepest traditions.
Hailed as the areas’ ‘Angel of the North’, the three of monumental figures were unveiled earlier this week and are expected to boost visitor numbers.
Commissioned by Sustrans, the charity behind the National Cycle Network which includes the Way of the Roses Cycle Route where the sculptures can be found, the ‘Pillars Past’ figures are two metres tall and represent three quintessential folk of the Dales - a miner, a farmer and a monk.
The characters are arranged in a circle and from a distance they appear like ancient standing stones.
Hayton used the faces of local people of similar vocations in modern day Pateley Bridge as models. One is even based in his own father, John Hayton.
Joseph said: “In this part of Yorkshire lead mining, sheep farming and Fountains Abbey dominated peoples’ lives and work. I enjoy carving heads so I created these three portraits to represent these pillars of the past. I wanted it to feel like the viewer is being stared at by three commanding figures from the past.”
Pillars Past is one of five artworks commissioned with Arts Council funding for a Travelling Histories public art project across the 170 mile Way of the Roses route between Morecambe and Bridlington.
Youngsters from St Cuthbert Primary school and Ripley School met the sculptor last week to hear how he created life-sized models which he cast in plaster of Paris before carving the figures in local stone using a pointing machine as a three-dimensional measuring system.
An exhibition of Joseph Hayton’s working models and working drawings is currently running at his workshop at Number 2, King Street Workshops, The Old Workhouse in Pateley Bridge.