Gormley starts new sculpture for Library

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The artist Antony Gormley, best known for the giant "Angel of the North" sculpture which towers over the A1 near Gateshead, has started work on an eight-tonne "Stone Circle" for the British Library in London.

Gormley received the commission while still relatively unknown 15 years ago. Delays in opening the British Library and difficulties in finding financial sponsors led to the commission being put to one side. But yesterday it was announced that the work is going ahead and will be completed within weeks.

Eight glacial granite boulders imported from southern Sweden will be set on the existing stone plinths around the Poet's Circle in the Piazza. The one-tonne rocks will be carved with the outline of a variety of human bodies trying to cling on to them – "to celebrate the body and its dependency on matter within the context of this repository for the mind," according to the artist.

Gormley, who won the 1994 Turner Prize, said yesterday: "It is a tribute to independent creative thinking. I hope this work can function in a similar way to that of contemplative stones in a Japanese garden."

Lynne Brindley, the British Library's chief executive, said: "This piece of public art is an exciting project for the library. It signifies our commitment to appeal to a wider audience."