The seahorse, the long-established symbol of Newcastle, was the inspiration and subject of a 1.8 metre sculpture that was unveiled at School on Friday 28th April. The unveiling was performed by Baltic Curator, Emma Dean together with Headmistress Hilary French, and the sculptor, Zoe Robinson.
Cast in bronze, the seahorse stands 3 metres and weighs approximately 1 tonne. Contained within the main seahorse sculpture is a small bronze baby seahorse. The statue is coated in the same patina as the 12 seahorse heads atop the Civic Centre in Newcastle to reflect the school’s historic links with the city.
The sculpture was designed by NHSG Art Teacher, and professional sculptor, Zoe Robinson. Zoe was on hand to see her creation unveiled in front of an audience of local dignitaries including the Sheriff of Newcastle, together with 400 of the girls.
The unveiling ceremony was a memorable occasion, beginning with a dance performed by the Years 10 and 11 Dance Company and followed by speeches before the actual unveiling took place accompanied by the Choir. Guests were then invited to visit a seahorse-inspired exhibition which displayed contributions from across the Year Groups alongside a photographic timeline of the sculpture’s creation.
The Seahorse statue is one of the finishing touches to our major new school build and takes pride of place in front of the new Senior School building on Tankerville Terrace.
The seahorse is a recurring image and symbol for Newcastle and was adopted as our emblem when Newcastle High was formed in 2014. As well as its links to Newcastle and the history of the city, the seahorse represents patience, friendship, generosity and persistence. The seahorse, a reminder that Newcastle is a seaport, appears in Newcastle’s Heraldic coat of arms dating back to the 16th Century. It also appears on the Newcastle United emblem and on many famous architectural buildings in and around Newcastle.
Following the unveiling of her work, Zoe Robinson said, “This is such a proud moment for me and the school. Newcastle High encourages girls to take risks, work hard, do things in a new way and have a go – this ethos inspired me and influenced how I approached the design for the sculpture. It has been a really symbolic and exciting project and I hope the statue will inspire the girls and create a sense of welcome and identity for our new school.”
Headmistress Hilary French also acknowledged that this was a proud day for the school. “There has been a long historic association between Newcastle and seahorses – a reminder that the city is a seaport and for us at Newcastle High that we are proud to be part of the fabric of the city,” she said. “The seahorse has become our adopted emblem and to have a huge bronze sculpture at the heart of the school will provide a daily, visual reminder that our school is proud to be part of our city and able to contribute to its ethos – friendship, generosity and persistence being at our core. We’re very proud of our new addition and hope that it will become a historic landmark on city wide seahorse trails.”
Emma Dean, Baltic Curator added, “The North East is internationally famous for its rich sculptural heritage – from Antony Gormley’s Angel of the North to the John Robert Murray McCheyne seahorses on the Civic Centre, they are all instantly recognisable and synonymous with the region. Zoe’s seahorse creation is a welcome new addition to the North East’s sculptural landscape and reflects the city’s cultural and artistic strengths.”