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Leeds nostalgia: Leeds artist has work stolen days after it goes on display

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Dateline: July 1997: A sculpture which took six months to make and was designed for the people of Leeds to enjoy was stolen within days of going on display in the city.

Antonia Stowe design two steel rings, each over a foot in diameter, to sit beneath the Victorian lamps, on Victorian Bridge aw part of the Champion, a three=-week exhibition by Leeds Sculpture Workshop to reflect economic and social change in the city.

Thieves stole one of the rings, which was welded to the bridge, from Victorian Bridge in Neville Street.

They were understood to have used machinery to remove the ring.

A saddened Antonia said: “It really reflects how far behind we are in Leeds in terms of public art that when something goes on display for the people to enjoy or criticise as they choose, it gets stolen.

“I am trying to be positive because we have had a great response to our exhibition otherwise. Whether it’s people who don’t appreciate art or just don’t like my work who stole the ring I don’t know but I can take the criticism.

“If it has been stolen for its monetary value, then the thieves will be sadly disappointed.”

She added: “Art should be controversial, interesting and fun.” Police described the theft as unusual.