Figure whose admirers ‘wore out the moor’ gets new home at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

A 10ft painted bronze figure of a solitary man on a three-legged stool was unveiled yesterday as the latest attraction at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park – as the site itself found itself on the national lottery’s 25th anniversary shortlist.

The Seated Figure by artist Sean Henry is lifted into place at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Picture by Simon Hulme

The park, on the outskirts of Wakefield, has been named a finalist in the art, culture and film section of a contest that will now go to a public vote.

A televised final in the autumn will identify the country’s most popular lottery-funded project, with the winner handed £10,000 and a trophy.

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Peter Murray, the park’s founding director, said the accolade was “a great honour” and asked the public to get behind it by voting before the poll closes on August 21.

The Seated Figure by artist Sean Henry is lifted into place at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Picture by Simon Hulme

Meanwhile, Sean Henry, the Hampshire artist behind Seated Figure, its latest exhibit, said he hoped the park’s peaceful surroundings would give it the solitude its anonymous subject seemed to want.

The sculpture has been brought to the park from its previous home at Castleton Rigg in the North York Moors, where its many visitors were said to be damaging the landscape.

Mr Henry said the sculpture, the largest in a series of seated anonymous figures and designed for the Yorkshire landscape, should instead “hide itself where people can go and find him”.

He added: “Sitting on a fold-out stool, he is alert and appears to be on the edge of action although it is deliberately unclear what he will do next.

The Seated Figure by artist Sean Henry is lifted into place at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Picture by Simon Hulme

“Like all sculpture, the work is a form of non-verbal communication, and I hope people come and see what he has to say.”

Clare Lilley, programme director at the park, said: “The sculpture is loved by many. In fact, its popularity led to moorland erosion in the North York Moors.

“We are used to caring for sculpture within the landscape and the challenges of significant visitor numbers. We hope that many more people will be able to see the sculpture in its new location.”