Verity (statue)

Artist Damien Hirst
Year 2012
Type stainless steel, bronze, fibre glass
Location Ilfracombe, Devon

Verity is a stainless steel and bronze statue created by Damien Hirst. The 20.25-metre (66.4 ft) tall sculpture stands on the pier at the entrance to the harbour in Ilfracombe, Devon, looking out over the Bristol Channel towards South Wales.[1][2] It has been loaned to the town for 20 years.[1] The name of the piece refers to "truth" and Hirst describes his work as a "modern allegory of truth and justice".[2]

The statue depicts a pregnant woman holding aloft a sword while carrying the scales of justice and standing on a pile of law books.[1][2] Half of the sculpture shows the internal anatomy of the pregnant woman, with the foetus clearly visible.[1] The stance has been described as a reference to Little Dancer of Fourteen Years by Edgar Degas, a work that previously inspired Hirst when he created Virgin Mother.[1][2]

The sculpture was cast in stainless steel and bronze in 40 separate sections by Pangolin Editions. The sword, which gives the statue much of its height, and the upper left arm is one polymer-strengthened fibre glass piece. Before being cleared for erection the statue was subjected to tests in a wind tunnel to ensure that it could cope with high winds and spray from the sea.[1] Measuring 25cm (10 inches) higher than the Angel of the North, Verity became the tallest statue in the UK when it was put into place.[3]

Members of North Devon Council referred to the controversial nature of the statue as a potential boost to tourism. Local reaction was very mixed, with those critical of the work calling it "ugly" and stating that "it isn't suitable for a Victorian seaside town". Before they allowed planning permission the council received 100 letters from people who objected to the installation of the statue, and 177 letters supporting the application.[1] In August 2013 councillors announced that the statue had a "tremendous effect" with people visiting the town solely to see Hirst's work.[4]

Hirst, who lives in Combe Martin, has loaned the statue to the town for 20 years starting from its erection on 16 October 2012.[1][2]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Bond, Anthony (16 October 2012). "Thar she rises! Bump on the beach arrives as Damien Hirst's 65ft statue of a pregnant woman is hoisted upright in Iflracombe. But awesome or an eyesore?". Daily Mail. Retrieved 23 September 2013.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 Bond, Anthony (16 October 2012). "Damien Hirst's Verity". Retrieved 23 September 2013.
  3. Gussin, Tony (10 October 2012). "Hirst lifts the lid on Verity". North Devon Gazette. Retrieved 23 September 2013.
  4. "Damien Hirst's Verity: Ilfracombe to build on statue 'success'". BBC News. 21 August 2013. Retrieved 23 September 2013.
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