Port artist Elisabeth makes final five bidding to create £100,000 tribute to Bay's most famous daughter

Torbay Weekly

A well-known Brixham-based artist has been shortlisted in a prestigious £100,000 project to design a Torquay harbourside sculpture as a tribute to Torbay's  most famous daughter -  Dame Agatha Christie.

In September artists were invited to submit an application for the project, which is being funded through the Government’s Town Deal funding for Torquay.

The final five artists were selected by a panel made up of representatives from Torbay Council, Agatha Christie Ltd, the international Agatha Christie Festival, Torbay Culture and Torquay Town Board.

Elisabeth Hadley, a sculptor based in Brixham, made the final five. She is already well-known locally for her Man And Boy sculpture at Brixham and her mermaid 'Miranda' which has also become a landmark in Dartmouth.

Elisabeth, who has lived in Brixham for almost 25 years, says of her Torquay concept: "I thought it would be lovely to have Dame Agatha sat on a bench with pen and paper. She could be contemplating her next novel, focusing on the plot, who should be the killer, or just enjoying the beautiful surroundings, she loved nature and I believe she spent many happy hours down by the boathouse at Greenway delighting in the passing wildlife and the beautiful views across the Dart.
"I thought it would also be nice to portray her as a slightly younger Agatha, not the old lady everyone thinks of in Tweeds and brogues. She was a Dame after all and there are some beautiful photographs of her looking very glamorous. So I think she deserves to be looking smartly dressed.
"Agatha Christie also loved her dogs. She had them throughout her life which is why I wanted to show this side of her personality and include one in this sculpture of her. Her favourite was a short haired Terrier called Peter, she loved that little dog so much she incorporated him in her novel, 'Dumb Witness" though did rename him Bob. This is the dog I would sculpt at her side and he would be resting his head on her lap looking up at her adoringly."

Elisabeth added: "The reason for placing her on the bench? Agatha's fans travel from far and wide to visit her birth place. It would be wonderful for them to be able to sit next to her and then try to imagine their hero Dame Agatha Christie contemplating the twists and turns of her complex and thrilling novels."

The others shortlisted are:

David A Annand, a public artist and sculptor who lives and works in Kilmany in the Scottish county of Fife, who wants to create a slightly larger than life-sized figure of Agatha Christie and her short-haired terrier Peter.

Gordon Young, an artist from Carlisle, now based in Somerset, who wants to create a 'unique and engaging piece of artwork.

Hazel Reeves, a figurative sculptor based in Brighton, would like to create a statue in bronze, which will have 'intrigue with clues to Agatha’s life and work to engage passers-by as well as conveying humour, intelligence her love of travel and of course her affection for Torquay'

Yorkshire Fine Arts / The Lost Foundry Devon - Steve Winterburn, sculptor at Yorkshire Fine Arts and concept designer Harvey Gardiner will work with The Lost Foundry Devon to 'capture the spirit of Agatha Christie 'through a sculpture that portrays her special relationship with Torquay, Torbay and Devon'.

The public will have the final say on the piece that will be developed and installed, by voting online (https://www.torbay.gov.uk/leisure-sports-and-community/regeneration/agatha-christie-artwork).

The vote is open until January 16 with the winner announced shortly afterwards,. The winning design is planned to be unveiled in the autumn.