Virginia Woolf Statue for Richmond 

We are delighted that our statue of Virginia Woolf by artist Laury Dizengremel was unveiled on Richmond Riverside on November 16th, 2022. The unveiling was carried out by Emma Woolf (and son Ludo) and Sophie Partridge, all descendants of Leonard and Virginia Woolf.

The memorial to the English writer, famed for works such as Mrs Dalloway and Orlando, was placed on the riverside in Richmond-upon-Thames, a town in which she lived for 10 years.

Following a 5-year campaign, the charity raised £50,000 to design and manufacture the statue and further funds for shipping, installation and publicity. Please help us raise funds for forthcoming associated literary events and ongoing maintenance of the statue. You can be part of the new Virginia Woolf story too.


Our Give as you Live Crowdfunder is open to all, so please help us by donating here!

 

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We launched our project in 2017 to commission a statue of Virginia Woolf by artist Laury Dizengremel for Richmond-on-Thames, where Virginia lived with her husband Leonard from 1914 to 1924. The statue was unveiled on November 16th 2022 and is the first ever life-size bronze depiction of Virginia Woolf in the UK. The unveiling was covered by tv and press with Virginia's great-niece Emma Woolf (and her son Ludo) together with great-great niece Sophie Partridge carrying out the unveiling of the statue. The public response to the artwork and its location on the riverside has been extremely positive although there was some criticism of the location from a few elderly Richmond residents during the 5-year campaign.

The campaign to raise the funds involved dozens of local volunteers and comprised videos, readings, talks, online events, film screenings, book publications, a reading challenge and crowdfunding. It was led by local writer and publisher Cheryl Robson with historian and writer Anne Sebba and writer and broadcaster Bamber Gascoigne appearing in the campaign video.

The public expressed overwhelming support for the project with over 250 individual donations and thousands of likes and positive engagement on social media. Several larger donations came in from individuals and local donors: EA Change, Books on the Rise and London Borough of Richmond.

 

Additional funds were raised online in 2020 following the criticism of the memorial to Mary Wollstonecraft designed by Maggi Hambling. The design and manufacture of the sculpture cost £50,000 with additional funds needed for shipping, installation, launch event, marketing and publicity.

In an online gala during the pandemic many artists and writers took part including

MC: Linda Duberley, broadcaster and journalist

Musicians: Kyla Brox, Sister Cookie, Woolf and Music, Ralph Brookfield, Extra Mondays, Kasey Chambers

Writers: Sarah Gristwood, Mark Haddon, Emily Midorikawa and Emma Claire Sweeney, Frances Spalding, Anne Sebba

Comedienne: Clare Summerskill

Artists: Louisa Albani, Marta Di Francesco

Theatre: Katie Mitchell preparing her production of 'Orlando' in Paris; Marvellous Machine TC; 

Rebecca Mordan; Rebecca Vaughan.

Actors: Molly Gromadzski , Ceri-Anne Cissone, Alan Hunter

Two books were published in aid of the campaign, namely Virginia Woolf in Richmond by Peter Fullagar (£12.99) and The Women Writers Handbook edited by Ann Sandham (£12.99). The latter contained both distinguished and newer writers together with useful tips for creative writing. Some of the writers who contributed are A.S. Byatt, Kit de Waal, Philippa Gregory, Jackie Kay, Clare Tomalin, Madeline Thein, Sarah Waters, and the great-niece of Virginia Woolf herself, Emma Woolf.

 

Online Supporters

Many people liked the concept of our Virginia Woolf statue from the outset including Margaret Atwood, Caitlin Moran, Jodi Picoult, Deborah Frances-White, Elizabeth Day, Caroline Criado Perez, Mark Haddon, Sarah Gristwood, James O'Brien, Phillip Pullman and Neil Gaiman. 

 

Local MP Sarah Olney, Lord Zac Goldsmith, Richmond Councillors Andree Frieze, Mayor Julia Cambridge, Peter Buckwell, John Coombs, Pamela Fleming and MEP Bill Newton-Dunn all endorsed the project too.

 

Public Consultations

Richmond Council held a public consultation in 2018 which was 83 % in favour of the statue project and planning permission was granted to site the statue on the upper terraces at Richmond Riverside near to the entrance to Heron Court.  In 2021 Richmond Council held another public consultation about locating the sculpture on Richmond Riverside. This was 91% in favour with 88% of respondents being Richmond residents. In November 2021, Richmond Council voted unanimously to give Landowner Permission to site the sculpture on Richmond Riverside so that it can be part of the cultural offering in the historic part of the town.

Future Virginia Projects

Help us create associated literary projects on Dalloway Day in June and to maintain the cleaning and patination of the artwork by making a donation. Donate now.

The Project

The purpose of the statue is to:

  • Celebrate Virginia's life in Richmond where she developed as a writer and wrote short stories, essays, reviews and novels. She worked with Leonard, her husband, to set up the Hogarth Press in Richmond publishing works by T.S. Eliot, Katherine Mansfield and E.M. Forster among many others.

  • Recognise her role as a feminist and LGBTQ icon. She talked openly about her relationship with another woman, Vita Sackville-West, as well as her mental health issues.

  • For more about the places Virginia lived in London see here; Take a Tour of Virginia Woolf’s Life in London — Google Arts & Culture

The Statue

Award-winning sculptor Laury Dizengremel  created the beautiful artwork which was cast in lost-wax bronze.  The piece features Woolf in repose on a bench, where people can sit next to her in lively conversation, while enjoying the Richmond riverside. Visitors can interact with the figure of the writer and take photos next to her on a bench which is part of the artwork. [#virginiaselfies] The artwork has attracted many tourists to Richmond and will act as a catalyst for arts and writing in the community of South London. We hope that a wider conversation about wellbeing will also be encouraged.

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What's next?

For latest news follow us on twitter @VWoolfstatue like us on Facebook/VWoolfStatue or follow our sister company AURORA METRO BOOKS @aurorametro and Facebook/AuroraMetroBooks where you can subscribe to our mailing list and hear about upcoming events.

Maquettes of the sculpture are available to buy from our bookshop BOOKS ON THE RISE, situated at 80 Hill Rise on Richmond Hill, TW10 6UB. You can visit us there to discuss and buy all things related to Virginia Woolf and find out about local literary tours. See the website there www.booksontherise.com

A recent audit of statues in London showed that there are more monuments depicting animals than there are in honour of named women. To be part of a wider movement to get more women of achievement celebrated and remembered, see the inVISIBLE WOMEN project: VISIBLEwomen - inVISIBLEwomen

 

If you would like to volunteer to help us, contact info@aurorametro.com.

Did you know that you can support us by shopping online?

 

You can do so at Amazon Smile here

Or for more options, every time you shop online via easyfundraising at one of the 3,300 retailers including John Lewis, Aviva, Sainsbury’s and Booking.com, a donation will be made to our project, and it won’t cost you a penny extra.


Go to easyfundraisingSign up for free. Get shopping – your donations will be collected by easyfundraising and automatically sent to the Virginia Woolf Statue Project. It couldn’t be easier! There are no catches or hidden charges and we will be really grateful for your donations.

 

Thank you for your support.

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What They Say...

"Good luck! Virginia Woolf deserves a statue in commemoration in Richmond."

Neil Gaiman

“During her career as a writer, Woolf was at the vanguard of culture, both as a member of the Bloomsbury set and as a celebrated literary figure. She was an extraordinarily successful author, essayist and literary critic and is often described as one of the most influential literary figures of the 20th century. She is a big part of our history as a country, and with roots in Richmond, it is right that she is remembered with a statue.”
Zac Goldsmith

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Read the Book

Read Peter Fullagar's highly regarded new book titled Virginia Woolf in Richmond.

You can order it here.

Also...
How Richmond Shaped Virginia Woolf, 
article by Peter Fullagar

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