Eleanor Rigby made up as £1m sculpture

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Eleanor Rigby sculpture with Leonard Brown

Eleanor Rigby sculpture with Leonard Brown

A sculpture of famous Beatles icon Eleanor Rigby has been made using £1m worth of old pound notes.

The statue, named the Million Pound Bag Lady, was created by Liverpool-born Leonard Brown after six, painstaking months.

He told JMU Journalism: “The idea was to look at wealth and poverty, the wealth being all the transactions the money had previously went through before coming to this stage, and the poverty being the fact that she is a bag lady.”

Alongside the sculpture reads the words: “I cried because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet”.

This is a quote which Brown’s mother used to say to him when he was younger, and he feels like it’s more relevant in today’s society than ever before. The reality that Eleanor Rigby may not have been a real person did not deter Brown from making his masterpiece.

He said: “She’s not real is she, she’s a character, everyone knows that.  Being from Liverpool myself, I frequented the Cavern Club and I thought it would be nice to use her as inspiration.”

Before the work could begin on the sculpture Brown had to secure the old bills, which turned out to be a lot harder than first anticipated.

He laughed: “It took a lot of negotiating; actually, begging would be a closer word, with the Bank of England to get the notes.  They wanted to know everything, like why I wanted the notes and what I’d be doing with them.

“When the money finally came out, everyone was having a look at this massive stack of money on the counter! The chap next to me said: ‘What are you getting that for? Are you painting a portrait of the governor?’”

Brown said he did not expect his work to garner as much attention as it has, saying: “I never expected it. You never know what people will think when you do a piece of work. The response from day one has been phenomenal. I am really over the moon.  You spend your life trying to do something nice like this.”

Brown also hopes that Paul McCartney might get a glimpse of his work after he mentioned it to the Beatles star’s personal assistant who, he said, loved the piece.

The sculpture, which is on show at the Beverly Art Gallery in Hull, has been attracting hundreds of visitors every day, and Brown hopes to broaden its appeal by having a special open day for blind people.

He added: “There are no places where blind people can appreciate art so I’m going to have an open day with the blind where they can touch the sculpture and feel its texture.”

About Damian Leonard, JMU Journalism