Scales of Justice (Middlesbrough, Graham Ibbeson, 1991)

Carol Ibbeson is perhaps one of the most sculpted people in UK public art. The reason for this is she’s been the model for many of artist Graham Ibbeson’s statues over the last 30+ years, including two in Middlesbrough town centre. The first was the Shopper & Child (which stood outside the Cleveland Centre) and the second is Scales of Justice, which can be found outside the law courts.

Unveiled in June 1991, this work shows Carol as the impartial embodiment of the law, holding up two fighting siblings (modelled on a young Graham and his sister). When I interviewed Graham last year he said he wanted to “show the contrast between aggression and tranquillity”, and spoke of Carol’s calmness when dealing with the couple’s own children.

As you can see, the statue was based on another piece Graham made (I believe it was displayed in Barnsley), which also shows Carol dealing with two children.

The maquette of Scales of Justice as displayed at The Glass Works in Barnsley. (photo: Val Jones)

The maquette of the statue is currently (as of April 2022) being shown at The Glass Works gallery in Graham’s native Barnsley as part of an Ibbeson retrospective exhibition called Casting Characters. This will run until the end of July.

A big thanks to Graham for sharing his time with us, as well as his photographs and sketches. Thanks also go to the ever-helpful Tony Duggan, who’s been invaluable in providing information for this project.

2 thoughts on “Scales of Justice (Middlesbrough, Graham Ibbeson, 1991)

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