Angry locals attack ‘hideous’ sculpture by Antony Gormley at Wells Cathedral

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Angry locals attack Antony Gormley’s ‘hideous’ sculpture as it hangs outside 14th-century Wells Cathedral

  • The sculpture is by the artist behind the monument to the Angel of the North
  • But he encountered some hostility from locals who dislike him
  • One of them described the art of Wells Cathedral as “hideous” and “not its best work”










A sculpture by artist Sir Antony Gormley titled ‘Doubt’ placed in front of a cathedral also left locals in doubt, with one calling it ‘hideous’.

The cast-iron creation was placed at Wells Cathedral in Somerset until February 2023 after companies raised nearly £ 2,000 to transport it.

Sir Antony – best known for his Angel of the North – says this is a suitable place for it because faith sometimes includes feelings of doubt.

But some locals have been left less than thrilled with the art of metalwork, believing it “is not among its best work.”

The cast iron creation was placed at Wells Cathedral in Somerset until February 2023

He was flown to Somerset after local businesses raised nearly £ 2,000 for the costs

He was flown to Somerset after local businesses raised nearly £ 2,000 for the costs

One local seemed particularly unimpressed, calling the statue

One local seemed particularly unimpressed, calling the statue “not among his best work”

And even Chancellor Rob James of Wells Cathedral even admitted he had divided local opinion.

He said, “Whenever you touch an old building that will cause negative reactions, some people like the shape of the sculpture, some people don’t.

“Doubt is not the opposite of faith, it is part of someone’s journey of faith,” he told the BBC.

Jerry Arron said: “In full agreement with the concept of contemporary art used in vacant historic sites. But for me, it’s not among his best works.

Sir Antony Gormley poses with his new Look II installation on September 22, 2020

Sir Antony Gormley poses with his new Look II installation on September 22, 2020

Not all Wells residents were thrilled with the new artwork outside their historic cathedral

Not all Wells residents were thrilled with the new artwork outside their historic cathedral

David Pulsford thought he “was out of place on a cathedral” while a Twitter user called GlastoHawk simply said “hideous”.

The statue has been placed on a specially constructed plinth to ensure that it does not damage the historic cathedral.

It has been described as a body that has collapsed on itself, Sir Anthony adding: “The head juts out inquisitively into space in general”.

He said: “I am very aware of the paradox of placing an object called DOUBT on the facade of a building dedicated to belief. But it seems to me that doubting, questioning, questioning are part of belief.

“For me, doubt can be a positive force and the imaginative engine of future possibilities. I’m interested in conversations about and about time – and art as a continuum that brings history to today.

“I chose this niche outside Wells Cathedral for its exposed position and visibility: the book at the end of the shelf. “


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