Fiona Bruce with the £1m model
An original model of the Angel of the North owned by Gateshead Council has become the first £1m object to feature on the BBC Antiques Roadshow.
The model, called a maquette, is 1/20th of the size of the real 20 metre high Angel of the North, measuring 39 x 111 x 7.9 in. / 99 x 282 x 20 cm and it needs at least four people to lift the solid bronze sculpture.
It was used by the artist Antony Gormley to give people an idea of what the finished sculpture would look like.
Staff from Gateshead Council took the piece to the Antiques Roadshow at the Sage Gateshead in September, but the first ever seven figure valuation was kept a closely guarded secret until the show aired last night.
The news is another cause to celebrate in a year that has seen a number of high profile events launched to mark ten years of the Angel.
Cllr Mick Henry, leader of Gateshead Council said: "It was great to showcase the Angel at the Antiques Roadshow and have it valued by the experts there. Obviously we have it insured for a considerable sum, but because it belongs to the council we would never look to sell it. It's also a unique piece because of the history of the sculpture.
"Now the Angel of the North is seen as the defining structural symbol of renaissance in the North East and it's only right that we celebrate not
only what the Angel symbolises but the very real impact it has made in Gateshead and the North East."
Gateshead Council Cabinet member John McElroy who took the Angel along to the roadshow and represents the area next to where the real Angel is sited, was delighted with the valuation - but like most people who take treasured family heirlooms it means far more to its owners than the cash.
"The Angel of the North really does belong to the people of Gateshead and obviously this is such an important part of our history we could
never sell it. A few people questioned why we built the Angel at the time, but the real value was that it did something money can't buy -
it put us on the map and started the regeneration in arts and culture which led to the building of venues such as The Sage Gateshead where
the Antiques Roadshow was held.
"This one small piece alone is now worth more than we have spent on 50 pieces of public art in the borough in the past 25 years - and the
best thing is we have mainly be able to use money from the National Lottery and other funders.
"The artist did make other copies which occasionally turn up at auction at places like Sotheby's, and noted collectors of his work
like David Bowie and Neil Tennant from the Pet Shop Boys are reputed to have copies in their collections. They turn up at locations all
over the world - including one in Brussels airport, on the beach at a luxury hotel in the West Indies and in the garden of the Berlin villa
of millionaire cosmetics and fashion designer Wolfgang Joop.
"But the unique thing about ours is that it was the first - and of course it was the model for the real Angel in Gateshead. It was first
shown to the people of Gateshead back in 1996 so they could get an idea of what it would be like, because until then they had only seen
artists impression and sketches. Now ten years on it has become one of the most viewed and famous pieces of art in the world - regularly
listed in top tens of our best loved icons."