A LIFE size sculpture of archaeologist and TV celebrity Phil Harding is on display at Salisbury Museum.

It is the first of Salisbury's Hidden Figures - a community arts project aimed at bringing joy and creativity to the city, which is the brainchild of local artist Anthony Durman.

Phil works as a fieldwork archaeologist for Wessex Archaeology but most people will probably know him for the Channel 4 TV show, Time Team, in which he featured for many years.

The project is being overseen by the Safer and Supportive Salisbury project team.

Safer and Supportive Salisbury chair Anne Trevett said: “This project is a true community engagement effort. The original inspiration was a figure of Anthony Durman’s daughter Alethea that can still be seen in a garden off Fisherton Street.

"Local resident Mrs Hawtrey watched from her window as visitors to the city took selfies in front of the figures from the bridge and asked whether such figures could not pop up all over the city.

"Led by Anthony and supported by Safer and Supportive Salisbury we are thrilled that Phil agreed to be our first figure and that so many people have been involved in creating his likeness. Thank you too to the museum for giving him a home.”

A total of nine life size figures of real living people are being nominated by local people and organisations.

When complete, these sculptures will form a trail, placed in hidden, out of the way, unexpected and secure corners of the city.

Will Foster, 3D artist at Wessex Archaeology, first scanned Phil with a handheld scanner.

The data gathered was ‘sliced’ by school student Luke Liang of Bishop Wordsworth School and his life size figure was then printed using recycled plastic over many hours on a community owned 3D printer by Adrian Lucas of John Hanson School, Andover.

A large team of local volunteers helped artist Anthony Durman assemble the life size ‘Phil’ from the printed body parts.

Speaking of his involvement in the process, Phil said: “This is very much a bit of fun; it’s an archaeologist who is happy in his work.

"I’m pleased as punch to be the first figure, but I truly look forward to seeing more figures, which will make it what it strives to be, a bigger community project full of interesting people with diverse skills.

"The total ‘body scan’ was certainly a new and unique experience, but does it have to stress features of too much real ale.”

This project was first funded by a Salisbury City Council grant and subsequently with funding from Wiltshire Council’s Area Board as well as private donations.

Work is starting to create figure number two.

A spokesperson for Salisbury Museum said: "We’re delighted at the museum to host the first of the Hidden Figures sculptures, with a life-sized Phil Harding greeting our visitors.

"Regular visitors to the museum may be accustomed to seeing real-life Phil in and around the galleries but the sculpture is causing quite a stir and plenty of activity on social media – with not a few commenting that perhaps there should be a glass of beer rather than a pot in Phil’s hand.

"It’s a great project and a lot of fun and we very much look forward to seeing more local figures celebrated through the sculptures positioned around Salisbury."

"We’re grateful to the Hidden Figures team for choosing Salisbury Museum as the first venue for the project, and to Salisbury Community Area Board of Wiltshire Council and Salisbury City Council for their support of the project.

Get more Salisbury news

You can also like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter and Instagram to stay up to date, as well as signing up for one of our newsletters.

If you want online news with fewer ads, unlimited access and reader rewards - plus a chance to support our local journalism - find out more about registering or a digital subscription.

Email newsdesk@salisburyjournal.co.uk with your comments, pictures, letters and news stories.