Phoenix Cobbles – Maggie Howarth

Revival is the theme of the pebble mosaic, which shows a phoenix rising from the flames, symbolising Gateshead’s regeneration after a period of industrial decline.

Phoenix Cobbles-Maggie Howarth (1994)
Phoenix Cobbles-Maggie Howarth (1994)

Art Gateshead Riverside

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Once Upon a Time-Richard Deacon (1990)

The sculpture was inspired by the architecture of the surrounding environment, making links with past industries along the Tyne. It is built onto the surviving abutment of the demolished Redheugh Bridge.

Once Upon a Time-Richard Deacon (1990)
Once Upon a Time-Richard Deacon (1990)

Goats – Sally Matthews (1992)

This lifelike series of goats is made from recycled materials and appear to be climbing and foraging in the vegetation. If you are not expecting them, they can be an eerie sight, you have to resist the urge to feed them.

Metal Goats
Metal Goats

Gateshead Riverside Art Photo Album

Gateshead Riverside has a vast amount of public art, spread all along the Quayside between all the main city centre bridges.

Gateshead Riverside Art Photo Album

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Thornbird Railings – Marcela Livingston (2005)

The Thornbird Railings consist of 25 panels featuring a repetitive pattern, representative of falling leaves or a winged bird.

Acting as a guide for pedestrians they mark a new path that has been built along the riverside to give a better view of the Tyne and the other artworks in the area.

The artist carved each section, so it would change according to where the sun lies adding another dimension to the piece. The panels are made from malleable iron, providing the flexibility for the carved detail.

The railings are 60 metres long and were designed to stand out from the landscape, whilst continuing to enhance the surrounding environment.

Sports Day – Mike Winstone

Just outside Wilkinsons, on West Street, it is impossible to miss Sports Day, a massive figure sculpture and a well-known Gateshead landmark.

The first work made specifically for the Public Art programme, it was completed in 1986 as a focal point for the extensive scheme of environmental improvements in the town centre.

The 4-metre high sculpture of reinforced, painted concrete was made on site by Mike Winstone, Gateshead’s sculptor in residence from 1985 to 86.

Although alluding to Gateshead’s renown in sports and the International Stadium, the sculpture avoids clichéd representations of athletic prowess, tensed muscles and ‘action’ poses. More humorous than heroic, Mike Winstone’s figure competes in the sack race – an event not known for poise and glamour.

The artist aimed to convey a view of sport which most people could identify with – one emphasising the excitement, enjoyment and optimistic exertions of a school sports day.

The sculpture also incorporates a salutary reference to Aesop’s fable of the race between the tortoise and the hare.

James Hill Monument

This artwork is a celebration of the life of James Hill, a 19th Century fiddle player who lived in Gateshead for most of his life. The sculpture is built and carved from Blaxter stone – the same stone used to build the Tyne Bridge wall abutment. Bronze elements are also incorporated into the design.

It includes a fiddle ‘leaning’ against the wall, an inscription and a bench area. The artwork is sited on Bottle Bank where Hill used to live and overlooks the High Level and Swing Bridge featured in the ‘High Level Hornpipe’.

Beacons – David Pearl (2004)

David Pearl’s architectural Beacons act as colourful visual markers to delineate the Gateshead Quays and guide people to the area.

The Blue Beacon marks the pedestrian route from South Shore Road to BALTIC and The Sage Gateshead.

The Amber Beacon in Oakwellgate links the Gateshead Quays to the Town Centre and the driver’s route to BALTIC.

The Beacons are 6 metres high with different steel bases and bright, translucent acrylic tips. They are illuminated at night and have been designed to complement the surroundings and echo the materials used in the immediate environment of the Gateshead Quays.

Gateshead Town Hall Clock

The gothic-style cast iron clock tower in front of the hall was designed by Gillott and Johnson of Croydon. The clock is painted black and gold and is an exact facsimile of one at Victoria Station, London (Little Ben, Victoria Street SW1).

It is inscribed “Presented to the Borough of Gateshead by Walter Willson, Mayor 1892.

Acceleration – John Creed 2005

Acceleration is situated opposite the Old Town Hall and provides a link between Gateshead Town Centre and Gateshead Quays. The design concept uses the strong slope of the site and refers to the historic architecture of the Old Town Hall.

Acceleration provides a physical separation between the car park and the Town Hall Square, which features street furniture designed by the same artist. The sculpture takes the form of a repeat ring motif acknowledging the past but heading into the future. The wheel symbolises the industrial history of Gateshead, with particular reference to the former railway engineering works in the historic quarter.

The artwork is 7 metres long and is constructed from cor-ten steel with angled, stainless steel paddles. The colour of the piece links to the surrounding railway viaduct made of St Bees sandstone.

Funded by One North East through the Single Regeneration Budget.

Ribbon of Colour – Kate Maestri (2004)

Ribbon of Colour is a spectacular 200 metre curved glass balustrade, designed by architectural glass artist Kate Maestri to complement the dramatic architecture of The Sage Gateshead by Foster and Partners architects.

The artwork is a vibrant focal point and extends into the public squares at either end of the building. The continuous handrail provides a visual and physical enticement that leads you to and from the squares into the building, creating continuity with the coloured glass.

The balustrade is made up of 101 panels in total. The internal panels have been individually screen printed and curved into shape. No two panels are the same length creating abstract blocks of colour, integrating seamlessly with the design of the building whilst creating an urban living room for the North East.

Ribbon of Colour was designed in response to the curved roof of The Sage Gateshead and River frontage whilst mirroring the composition of an abstracted piece of music.

Rise and Fall – Lulu Quinn (2007)

Entitled Rise and Fall, the artwork takes the form of a 6m high glass and stainless steel arch. It is designed to create a new focus, meeting point and dynamic viewing platform onto the Riverside.

A sophisticated programme of over 10,000 small LED lights randomly rise and fall within the arch. It can also remain quiet at times and not illuminate at all. The arch itself appears to wobble, fall down and rebuild itself regularly; creating a visual effect that can be seen from both sides of the river.

Artist Lulu Quinn has been working closely with her production team including lighting engineers Global Design Solutions, glass specialists, Fineline aluminum and glass and steel fabricator, Mayflower Engineering.

Cone – Andy Goldsworthy (1992)

‘Cone’ may surprise those who associate Andy Goldsworthy with more ephemeral, hand-made constructions of leaves, earth, grasses or flowers. This enormous chunk of scrap metal must be worth a small fortune, surprising perhaps that Denis, Oz and the boys have not been asked to move it, to somewhere it might be more widely appreciated.

Expressing a strong affinity with nature, these works use materials found on site, and are left to slowly disintegrate. Goldsworthy has an internal reputation for works in landscape involving natural materials – from maple in Japan to ice in the North Pole. In more urbanised environments such as Gateshead, more resilient materials appropriate to the site ensure that works are similarly rooted in the unique character of the place.

Built in 1992 on an old foundry site, west of the High Level Bridge, Cone’s solid, four-metre-high structure is assembled from layers of steel plate. Despite industrial associations, the steel’s rawness retains qualities of the earth it came from, and the irregular structure evokes organic growth. Cone’s essential energy draws equally on the nature of steel and of a site, once industrial and inhabited, now grown over and wooded. Cone is one of a series sited in France, South Australia and Dumfriesshire, made respectively from limestone, pebbles and slate.

Rolling Moon – Colin Rose 1990

Originally made for Gateshead’s site at the Glasgow Garden Festival (1988), Rolling Moon was subsequently relocated on the banks of the Tyne in 1990.

The Glasgow Festival was based on a nautical theme so the sculpture’s design transferred effortlessly to its new situation.

Colin Rose’s sculpture distills the idea of the moon’s dominant effect on the oceans’ tides and its influence on the whole of maritime history. This great lunar force encompassing the earth is symbolised by the massive 27-metre span of the steel sculpture, which reaches 11 metres in height at its apogee, and supports a spun steel ball 1.3 metres in diameter.

Rolling Moon is situated between the High Level Bridge and the Queen Elizabeth II, and its majestic curve links it visually, though incidentally, to the structure of the Tyne Bridge. Visible at a distance from across the river, the sculpture nestles quite discreetly into the bankside, waiting to be chanced upon by walkers on the Gateshead side.