Nine-foot Saxon warrior comes to Stoke-on-Trent

Stoke-on-Trent residents are being given the chance to attend an exclusive VIP preview of the unveiling of a new work of art inspired by the world-renowned Staffordshire Hoard.

The Staffordshire Saxon – an inspiring nine foot sculpture of an Anglo-Saxon warrior – will be unveiled to the public at an exclusive after-hours event at the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, in the city centre, on Thursday, May 17.

Now residents are being urged to reserve their place alongside a list of specially invited guests including the Lord Mayor of Stoke-on-Trent, Councillor Terry Follows, Tristram Hunt, MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central and business leaders.

Up to 300 people will be given the first glimpse of the Staffordshire Saxon and treated to a special presentation about the artwork which will include a talk by the artist and a Staffordshire Hoard expert. Places must be reserved and will be offered on a first-come-first-served basis.

The £25,000 statue, funded by Stoke-on-Trent City Council, has been created by Blurton-born artist Andy Edwards with the help of two apprentices from the Aspire Group’s PM Training division in Shelton.

Created at a specially-built studio within the historic environment of the Wedgwood factory, at Barlaston, the statue will be unveiled in the museum’s lobby as part of an exhibition that will tell the story of its making.

Sponsored by Wedgwood, the exhibition has been organised by The Sentinel newspaper. It runs from May 5 until September 9 and is a precursor for a special new exhibition of Hoard items which begins on July 21.

Taking inspiration from the Hoard, the warrior is adorned with similar pieces of finery. The warrior has 17 Hoard-inspired pieces, including the pommel of the seax (knife or cutting tool) and buckles.

The statue will be available for public viewing on May 18, the day after the unveiling.

The Staffordshire Saxon will be unveiled by the Lord Mayor of Stoke-on-Trent, Councillor Terry Follows &Tristram Hunt, MP

Councillor Follows said

I’d like to thank Andy Edwards and his apprentices for creating such a unique and striking statue. It is the perfect complement to the Hoard, and fitting to be associated with our summer exhibition, which is set to be the biggest and best display of the treasure yet. Museum staff are busy putting the finishing touches to the new exhibition which will feature new interpretation of the treasure and interactive displays.

Councillor Mark Meredith, Stoke-on-Trent City Council cabinet member for economic development, said

The statue adds another dimension to the stunning artefacts on display in the museum. It brings to life the intricately designed gold sword pommels, helmet fragments and knife fittings, by showing how a 7th Century battle-clad warrior would have looked wearing them.

It is fantastic that apprentices have learned skills to help craft the statue, and hopefully they can go on to put those skills to further use in the future. The council’s investment in the statue is a sign of our commitment to displaying the treasure in the best possible way and it will be an attraction in its own right to bring people into the city.

Sentinel Editor-In-Chief Mike Sassi said

The Staffordshire Saxon is a wonderful piece of art and makes a great statement about the city’s intent to harness the potential of the Staffordshire Hoard. I look forward to welcoming Sentinel readers to this exclusive preview.

People who wish to attend the unveiling event, which starts at 6pm, must reserve their place by calling Mary-ann Astle at The Sentinel on 01782 602681 or email mary-ann.astle@thesentinel.co.uk.

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