Verity – Damien Hirsts Statue

Ilfracombe’s much talked about statue Verity stands at 20.25 metres tall, and weighs 25 tonnes. She is on long-term loan to North Devon Council as a gift from Damien Hirst. Made from stainless steel and bronze she stands on the pier at the entrance to the harbour in Ilfracombe, looking out over the Bristol Channel towards South Wales

Damien Hirst is best known for his controversial art, and when he decided to ‘loan’ Verity to his home town of Ilfracombe, it certainly got people talking. The BBC summed it up “She has been called outrageous, immoral, bizarre, obscene, offensive, disgusting, grotesque, a monstrosity, of no artistic merit and demeaning to women. Others see her as beautiful and unique, with the power to transform a town’s tired image and boost its economy.”

Verity represents truth and justice, and controversially she is displayed as a cross section showing her torso, skull and a developing foetus inside her womb. She stands on a base of scattered legal books and holds 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 upstretched arm.

After two years of planning and production, Verity arrived in Ilfracombe in three parts in October 2012. After a week’s assembly on site, the sculpture was hoisted into final position using a 250 tonne crane.

The statue has received many comments and provoked many responses, some people love it and are pleased to have this attraction in Ilfracombe, and others have branded it as an eyesore. Whatever your thoughts, it has certainly become a local talking point, even on April Fool’s day in 2014 gaining a striking pair of legwarmers.


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