The first full-size bronze statue of Virginia Woolf, by acclaimed sculptor Laury Dizengremel, will be unveiled in a stunning location on the Upper Terraces at Richmond Riverside on Wednesday 16 November at 2.30pm (1430hrs) by Virginia’s great niece Emma Woolf with her 2 year old son Ludovic Cecil Woolf (Ludo.)
An icon of the 20th Century, Virginia Woolf lived and worked in leafy Richmond with husband Leonard for ten years between 1914-1924. Virginia described Hogarth House as “the loveliest house in England.” There, they set up the Hogarth Press in 1915 and Richmond proved to influence Virginia’s life and work.
Aurora Metro Arts and Media Charity has dedicated five years to fundraising and campaigning to raise £50,000 to erect a statue of Virginia Woolf in Richmond to celebrate her, her literary legacy and her strong connection to Richmond. Dozens of volunteers helped with the project and the public expressed overwhelming support with literally 100s of individual donations.
The result is the extraordinarily beautiful work, featuring a life sized Virginia Woolf in a relaxed repose on a bench, where people can sit next to her, whilst enjoying the gentle views of Richmond.
The world-famous writer and champion of women's rights Virginia Woolf grew to love the tranquil life that Richmond offered her away from London. Richmond gave Virginia the freedom in her writing, freedom to grow as a person and the freedom to think for herself again. She wrote: “I ought to be grateful to Richmond and Hogarth, and indeed, whether it’s my invincible optimism or not, I am grateful.”
Attending the unveiling of this historical addition to Richmond will be the sculptor Laury Dizengremel: "Being asked to create the first ever full figure statue of Virginia Woolf, and to portray her happy side was a total thrill.”
Also attending will be Sophie Partridge, the great-great niece of Virginia Woolf and great grand-daughter of Virginia’s sister Vanessa Bell.
Many people have supported the campaign by writing or contributing short videos including: Mark Haddon, Sarah Gristwood, Anne Sebba, Claire Tomalin, Philippa Gregory, Kit de Waal, Jackie Kay, AS Byatt, Frances Spalding and Sarah Waters. Online endorsements have come from many including: Margaret Attwood, Jodi Picoult, Deborah Frances-White, Elizabeth Day, Caroline Criado Perez, Phillip Pullman and Neil Gaiman.
The charity’s sister company, Aurora Metro Books is a small publishing house in the heart of Richmond, poignantly similar to Hogarth Press. Here, Cheryl Robson has just opened their first independent book shop on site, Books on the Rise. During the campaign Aurora Metro published Peter Fullagar’s book Virginia In Richmond, to excellent reviews.
The last words, should of course, be left to Virginia Woolf describing Richmond: “Nowhere else could we have started the Hogarth Press, whose very awkward beginning had rise in this very room, on this very green carpet.” FULL MEDIA AND PHOTOCALL
WEDNESDAY 16 November 2022 1430hrs (2.30pm) - UNVEILING of Virginia Woolf statue & bench Upper Terraces, Richmond Riverside, (via Whitaker Avenue) Richmond TW9 1EH 1500hrs (3pm) - Refreshments at The Victoria Inn - 78 Hill Rise, Richmond TW10 6UB 1600hrs (4pm) - Talk by Peter Fullagar author of Virginia In Richmond at Books on the Rise next door (ticketed event**)
THE SCULPTOR – LAURY DIZENGREMEL Award-winning sculptor Laury Dizengremel was commissioned Aurora Metro Arts and Media to create the artwork. The piece features Woolf in repose on a bench, where people can sit next to her while enjoying the Richmond riverside. Another of Laury’s recent public artwork commissions is the life-size bronze sculpture of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown – 18th century’s greatest landscape designer which is located near Hammersmith Bridge. Other notable artworks of Laury’s include the Tennis Terracotta Warriors (in Wimbledon Museum), memorial statues in honour of Tony Socks Byrne and Joey Maher in Drogheda, Ireland, Ken Jones in Blenaevon, Wales, Sir George Carteret in Jersey, David ‘Bomber’ Pearce in Newport, Wales and a bust of Mary Church Terrell for the National Association of University Women in the USA.
Laury Dizengremel working on the Virginia Woolf sculpture
AURORA METRO ARTS & MEDIA CHARITY - Charity number 1055116 Aurora Metro Arts and Media is a registered charity led by Cheryl Robson, based in Richmond-upon-Thames, championing diversity and equality through arts and educational projects both locally and globally. The charity is sister company to Aurora Metro Publications, a local publisher with three decades of publishing original voices, championing diversity and equality, and promoting work in translation. The charity is located in a new local bookshop, Books on the Rise, where all things related to Virginia Woolf will be available, including books, maquettes, and merchandise.
** Tickets £5 from: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/virginia-woolf-in-richmond-a-talk-and-book-signing-by-peter-fullagar-tickets-441629253987
Website: www.aurorametro.com Twitter: #VWoolfstatue Facebook: VirginiaWoolfStatue