'Verity'Ilfracombe
The Pier
North Devon EX34 9EQ
 
 
 

The entrance to the seaside town of Ilfracombe’s outer harbour is identified by two important landmarks. On one side is the ancient St Nicholas’s Chapel atop Lantern Hill, and on the other side is Damien Hirst’s huge modern sculpture ‘Verity’.

Artist Damien Hirst, a resident of Ilfracombe, has loaned the statue to the town for 20 years starting from its erection on 16 October 2012. It has proved a major tourist draw card for the town.

This arresting work of art is not to everyone’s taste but it certainly provokes discussion. ‘Verity’ is a modern-day allegory for Truth and Justice. The title is from the Italian word for Truth.

The statue depicts a naked pregnant woman standing on a base of scattered legal books, holding the traditional symbols of Justice – a sword and scales. Representing Truth, her scales are hidden and off-balance behind her back, whilst her sword is held confidently in her up-stretched arm. An anatomical cross - section of her head and torso reveals the skull, with a developing foetus inside her womb, clearly visible.

The message seems to be that without the perfect equilibrium enacted by the scales, the sword becomes a dangerous instrument of Power, rather than Justice.

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Vital Statistics
The sculpture is made of bronze-clad stainless steel. It is 66.4 feet (20.25 metres) high and weighs over 24.6 tons (25 tonnes), She was made in over forty individual sand castings at Pangolin Editions foundry in Chalford, Gloucestershire.
 
Her phosphor-bronze surface is 20 millimetres thick and her internal support structure is a single piece of stainless steel. The sword and upper arm is a single piece of glass fibre reinforced polymer.
 
The frame is fabricated in a single piece of stainless steel. The bronze parts were cast in pieces using sand moulds, metal-worked and reassembled around the steel frame.
 
The sculpture is weather and lightning-proof and underwent extensive wind-tunnel-testing to ensure her capability of withstanding the force of high winds and sea spray.
 
After two years of planning and production, Verity was transported to Ilfracome in three pieces, assembled on site over a week, and raised before an appreciative audience on 16 October 2012. 
 
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