The Angel of the North came down... well, not yet

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The Independent Online
The unveiling of the controversial Gateshead angel, a 65ft sculpture by Antony Gormley, is to be delayed again after the latest in a series of setbacks which could push the cost of the project above pounds 1m.

The 200 tonne Angel of the North, which will eventually be as high as four double-decker buses and have the wingspan of a jumbo jet, should have been unveiled last week alongside the A1 on Tyneside.

When Mr Gormley was commissioned by Gateshead Council in the autumn of 1994, he said that he would deliver the controversial work, which was then costed at pounds 300,000, by the spring of last year. Although the wings and most of the body have now been been made, this latest delay is down to confusion over the order in which the sculpture, part-funded by a National Lottery grant, needs to be assembled.

From the outset, Mr Gormley's sculpture, which should be completed in the new year, outraged the public as well as some sectors of the art world because of both its design and its size.

"This is the latest in a long series of cock-ups," says Martin Callanan, a former Conservative member of Gateshead Council.

"The Angel was originally meant to commemorate our 1996 Year Of The Visual Arts," says Mr Callanan, "Then completion was put back to November of that year before they moved it again to this Christmas. It makes you wonder if we've got another British Library on our hands."

Chris Jeffrey, the council's engineering director, said the project had been "rescheduled" rather than delayed.