Mystery over Chesterfield sculpture

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Mystery surrounds a sculpture which is no longer situated outside a prominent building in Chesterfield.

The sculpture - comprising of stone and cast iron sections - was created by artist Dan Archer and installed at the entrance to what were North East Derbyshire District Council's headquarters on Saltergate in 2008.

The Saltergate sculpture. Picture supplied by Dan Archer.

The Saltergate sculpture. Picture supplied by Dan Archer.

Mr Archer said he was recently contacted by a farmer and quarry owner who claimed he had bought the sculpture at an auction held by the council.

However, the council - which moved its headquarters to Wingerworth in 2015 - insisted it no longer owned the Saltergate site and did definitely not sell the sculpture at auction.

Mr Archer said: "The farmer and quarry owner wanted to keep the cast iron section of the sculpture which had the names of local pit villages but wanted to sell the stone section which made reference to the Derbyshire landscape.

"He asked for advice on how to sell it.

"I asked him how much money he wanted as I would like to keep it and exhibit it in a slightly modified form.

"He said he would think about it and would give me first option on it.

"He then contacted me to say his sons had sold the work to the owner of a local coal yard.

"I asked for his contact details but have not received them so far.

"Many local people liked the work and its references to the mining industry and the Peak District landscape - and are now deprived of one of the public artworks of the area."

Next spring, McCarthy and Stone will begin a development to demolish the Saltergate building and build 64 retirement homes at the site.

A McCarthy and Stone spokesperson was unable to comment about what had happened to the statue as the site is still under the control of the landowner.

Therefore, we contacted Saltergate Solutions Ltd - which bought the prominent building from the council in 2015 - and asked the company if it knew what had happened to the sculpture.

However, nobody had replied by the time of publication.