Hirst's Verity arrives safe and sound at her new home
DAMIEN Hirst's bronze effigy of a pregnant woman wielding a sword arrived in Ilfracombe under the cover of darkness this week.
The controversial 66ft statue, which is 25cm taller than Antony Gormley's Angel Of The North, arrived on a flatbed lorry at midnight on Sunday.
The 25-ton sculpture, which has been loaned to North Devon Council by Hirst, was hoisted off the lorry at around 9.30am on Monday morning.
The sword-bearing arm was then attached to the statue's body later that morning.
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It is understood that work will be carried out on the statue before it is erected later this month.
Jude Tyrell, spokesman for Hirst's company Science Ltd, said: "Once she has been worked on and patinated she will be hoisted into position.
"We hope to have her erect towards the end of the month but there is no definitive date as it's all very dependent upon how the work goes. Once she is in place the lighting has to be sorted and general tidying up will take place."
Jude said there were no plans for an official unveiling ceremony.
Ilfracombe town and district councillor Mike Edmunds said the statue was not as big as he thought it would be.
He said: "Perhaps it will look bigger once it is vertical; at the moment it's lying on it's side which is quite deceptive.
"There's still a hard core of people in Ilfracombe who don't like the statue but a lot of people have told me it's not as bad as they thought it would be."
Mr Edmunds said he hoped Verity would be the first piece of an arts jigsaw which would help attract visitors to the town.
He said: "There are a lot of empty hotels in the town and we desperately need something extra to draw people in – art is the right thing to do that.
"Verity is a tremendous asset for Ilfracombe and I genuinely believe she will do wonders for the town."
The statue has divided opinion in Ilfracombe. Some believe Verity will boost the economy and encourage more visitors while others claim she is grotesque, vulgar and will turn the town into a laughing stock.
North Devon Council has warned that some car parking spaces will be unavailable until installation work is complete.
The car park will also be completely closed from midnight on Saturday until 8am on Sunday.
Contractors are expected to hoist the sculpture into position some time between Sunday and Wednesday.
Once the statue is erect it is understood a further week will be spent working on it before it is complete.
The Journal has requested interviews with Damien Hirst on eight occasions since February this year. Each request has been either rejected or not responded to by his press team.