Antony Gormley: Field for the British Isles

An Arts Council Collection National Partners Programme Exhibition.

Experience this vast and iconic artwork in Sunderland, celebrating community, individuality and togetherness.

Field for the British Isles was made by Sir Antony Gormley in 1993 with 100 volunteers who were each given a portion of clay and instructions for the size and shape he wanted for the figures.

Consisting of 40,000 tiny individual terracotta figures, Field for the British Isles is the largest single artwork in the Arts Council Collection and its display at the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art (NGCA) at National Glass Centre will be the first time Gormley has exhibited in Sunderland.

This installation was chosen by Sunderland Culture’s Art Champions, a group of nine local people with no formal arts training but a passion and interest to discover more about modern and contemporary art, following a visit to the Arts Council Collection’s stores last winter.

On completing the artwork in 1993, Gormley specified it had to be installed with help from volunteers coordinated by the host venue to instill a sense of ownership in the project. Inspired by the artwork’s strong community focus, Sunderland’s Art Champions requested to bring the installation to the city. 

The exhibition will open on July 24, 2021 and be on display for nine weeks.   A rich programme built around Field for the British Isles will be delivered for schools and families. A pre-exhibition creative project with primary schools will encourage and promote family visits, while activities inspired by the work of Gormley will be developed for the summer programme, including four family ceramics workshops, two Family Days, takeaway ceramics kits and a digital/print exhibition resource


Find out more at Sunderland Culture's website.


The Arts Council Collection : Antony Gormley: Field for the British Isles

To coincide with this display of Antony Gormley’s installation Field for the British Isles, Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens are hosting an exhibition of twelve drawings made by Gormley between 1986 – 1992. 

The twelve drawings, selected by Antony Gormley, are made from red-coloured earth mixed with rabbit skin glue and water, black pigment and blood. The drawings recall the artist’s first encounter with the desert interior of Australia in 1989 and relate to the very first Field work, Field for the Art Gallery of New South Wales made in the same year. Field for the British Isles is on display in the North East for the first time in 25 years.


Left: Antony Gormley, TWO PERSONS RELUCTANT TO BE BORN, 1989.

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The Arts Council Collection is the UK's most widely seen collection of modern and contemporary art.

With more than 8,000 works by over 2,000 artists, it can be seen in exhibitions and public displays across the country and beyond. This website offers unprecedented access to the Collection, and information about each work can be found on this site.