A new statue of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has been commissioned as part of a town’s 850th anniversary celebrations.
Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council is commissioning the one-and-a-quarter times life size statue to be cast in bronze and placed in the Staffordshire town’s Queens Gardens.
Internationally-famous Staffordshire artist Andy Edwards, whose previous works include the landmark Beatles statue at Liverpool’s Pier Head, is basing the sculpture on photographs taken when Her Majesty visited Newcastle-under-Lyme as part of the Borough’s 800th anniversary celebrations in 1973.
Simon Tagg, Leader of Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, said: “We believe that this is one of the first statues, if not the first, of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to be commissioned since her death.
Image – Andrew Edwards and Simon Tagg
“The creation of lasting monument by an internationally famous, local sculptor in the appropriately named Queens Gardens will be a fitting tribute to a life of service, celebrate our connection with Her Majesty and become a local landmark in its own right.
“The choice of the design is very deliberate: it draws from how her Majesty looked and what she was wearing on the 25th of May 1973 when she visited Newcastle-under-Lyme to celebrate our 800th anniversary, spoke to residents from the balcony of the old civic centre and then walked through the town centre, cheered by thousands in the sunshine.”
The work will be funded by the sale at £8,500 apiece of 11 individually numbered maquettes, each 16 inches high and cast in the same bronze as the intended monument.
Image – Queen Elizabeth II Maquette
Cllr Tagg added: “Each maquette is a thing of beauty and will become a collector’s item.”
Staffordshire artist Andy Edwards is known internationally for his sculptures, including The Beatles in Liverpool, Sir Stanley Matthews in Stoke-on-Trent, Sir Alex Ferguson in Aberdeen and ‘All Together Now’ – an installation of opposing soldiers shaking hands over a football to symbolise one of the most famous events of the First World War.
Andy said: “A theme of my work is that the statues are often installed at ground level and that people can interact with them.
“When this was first suggested as the format for a new royal statue, I was quite surprised, pleasantly surprised, and excited . . . and having met the leader, looked at the site and considered that the inspiration for the design is Her late Majesty walking among the people of Newcastle-under-Lyme, I think it’s an inspired and perfectly fitting decision.”
He added: “This statue will be different because of the very specific narrative of the detail, portraying her in 1973, but also because it casts the late Queen as an accessible figure and is a reflection of public admiration for her warmth and humanity, rather than as a remote figurehead.”
The statue, weighing one ton, will be positioned looking across Queens Gardens towards a statue of Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth II’s great-great-grandmother, which was unveiled by Grand Duke Michael of Russia in November 1903.
Cllr Tagg added: “There is a pleasing symmetry here: Queen Victoria’s statue was unveiled two years after her death in 1901 and we hope that this statue will be revealed to the public in 2024.”
Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council is leading the year-long celebration of the 850th anniversary of King Henry II’s decision to grant Newcastle-under-Lyme a Royal Charter of Incorporation in 1173.
Expressions of interest to buy a maquette can be made here.
Video footage of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II visit to Newcastle-under-Lyme can be seen below.