THE latest sculpture by the Black Country's internationally renowned artist Luke Perry has been unveiled in Oldbury

The Rock Driller at Titford Pools Canal depicts the toil of those who worked in pre-mechanised coal mining.

The Rock Driller, positioned on one of ladders used in thick seam coal mining, shows how the dangerous the job of drilling was by hand.

The artwork was commissioned in memory of Marie Smith whose sons helped to unveil the piece during a Black Country Canal Navigation Society open day.

Cradley Heath based Mr Perry said: "What I tried to do whilst making the piece is capture the real gritty, bone thin and wiry physique and facial expressions that you often see in photos of the early coal miners.

"It was not a job with a long life expectancy and I tried to get this harshness of life into the sculpture."

On the sculpture there is the inscribed text “The Devil made coal.

"Made it black like his heart and hid it in the deepest recesses of the earth that he would drive man mad in the finding of it.”

The piece also commemorates the Nine Apostles Colliery which operated under the site of the monument and closed in 1904.

The canal was the major trunk road for the goods from Nine Apostles and hundreds of other collieries across the country and is looked after by volunteers from the Birmingham Canal Navigation Society.

Martin O’Keeffee, chairman of the Birmingham Canal Navigation Society, is delighted with Mr Perry's finished piece.

He said: "The November open day was a great success with over a hundred visitors turning up and many boats making the long trip to the Titford pools to see the piece unveiled.

“This work has been so incredibly well received by everyone."

He added: "Luke with his talent and enthusiasm has created something incredibly special that no-one thought could have been done."

The Rock Driller is the latest Luke Perry sculpture to be installed in the Black Country, his previous works include the Mary Macarthur sculpture in Cradley Heath, Angel Wings at St Peter's Church, Cradley and The Farohar at Shri Venkateswara Balaji Temple in Tividale.