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Beatles sculpture finally unveiled

ICONIC statues of The Beatles designed and made in the Potteries have been unveiled in the band's home city of Liverpool. The 8ft high bronze statues, designed by Blurton-born sculptor Andy Edwards, below, stand on the city's World Heritage Site waterfront.

The statues have been paid for by the Cavern Club and donated to the city, but the original clay work was made entirely in Stoke-on-Trent, at the Wedgwood factory. Andy said: "The Beatles statue is the work I'm most proud of to date, because it has been the most collaborative work.

"Also it's made me realise how much you are influenced by these four mates. I was a vegetarian because of Linda and Paul. John and Yoko's Bed-In for Peace (when the couple held a week-long bed-ins just after their wedding, in protest at the Vietnam War). George Harrison's Concert for Bangladesh, which was a precursor to Live Aid.

The sculptor said when viewed from a distance, the work looks as though it is just four lads. "Then you get a bit closer and realise who it is," he added.They are portrayed from around 1964. I was trying to capture the period just before they appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show in America. d. There's lots of hidden imagery. John is carrying two acorns as a preview of what he and Yoko are going to do. Paul is carrying a cine camera – it's his love of filming which led to the anthologies."

Chris Butler, of Liverpool-based Castle Foundry, where the statue was cast, first came up with the concept around eight years ago, inspired by the image in Liverpool One of The Beatles outside the BBC. He said: "The concept needed a very special sculptor. An artist that can take someone's vision, believe in it, understand it completely, run with it and live it. Sprinkle it with magic. Make it real. That sculptor is Stoke-on-Trent's Andy Edwards.

"Watching Andy sculpt is a joy. Moving clay around with his fingers, turning the earth into somebody. A master craftsman. Andy's studio in the middle of the old Wedgwood Factory began to look like a teenager's bedroom, the bedroom of a real Beatles fan. A shrine worthy of any believer. I went to see the progress of John and found the walls covered in posters. Suits, boots, guitars lying about. Reference material perhaps or something more. For Andy, the devotee, all are a crucial part of the process. He is an artist who becomes totally absorbed in his subject."

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