Best of British: 60 things that make Britain great

Imagine you're cut off in a far-off land. What longings would be uppermost in your mind? Here we celebrate those aspects of life that make our islands distinct and beguiling.

34. The Angel of the North

The Angel of the North an iconic statue in Gateshead Tyne & Wear England

Antony Gormley’s winged figure poised above the A1 at Gateshead can be seen eight miles away, a 66ft steel man with 50-ton wings. Britain’s largest public sculpture is provocative and profound, challenging national conventions of public art while possessing an inner depth and almost spiritual presence in the landscape. A former Turner Prize winner, Mr Gormley is the best known of a new generation of British sculptors whose work builds on the reputation carved out by Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth and Anthony Caro. But The Angel of the North is more than just an artwork: made in a Hartlepool steelworks for Gateshead Council and raised over a coalmine beside a motorway, railway line and football pitch, it has become an arresting symbol of the industrialised North-East and its Newcastle United culture.

‘…dark and true and tender is the North’
(The Princess, Alfred, Lord Tennyson)

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