Life-like sandstone figures of Pateley Bridge’s past have been unveiled alongside a popular cycling route.
Local sculptor Joseph Hayton has created the two-metres tall sculptures of a miner, a farmer and a monk as a monument to the great pillars of past industries on which the Nidderdale market town was built.
The characters are arranged in a circle and from a distance they appear like ancient standing stones.
The artwork was commissioned by Sustrans, the charity behind the National Cycle Network which includes the Way of the Roses Cycle Route where the sculptures can be found.
Mr Hayton used the faces of local people of similar vocations in modern day Pateley Bridge as models. Working with clay, he created life-sized models which he cast in plaster of Paris before carving the figures in local stone using a pointing machine as a three dimensional measuring system.
“In this part of Yorkshire lead mining, sheep farming and Fountains Abbey dominated peoples’ lives and work,” Mr Hayton said. “I enjoy carving heads so I created these three portraits to represent these pillars of the past. I wanted it to feel like the viewer is being stared at by three commanding figures from the past.”
Pillars Past is one of five artworks commissioned with Arts Council funding for a Travelling Histories public art project across the 170 mile Way of the Roses route between Morecambe and Bridlington.