Virginia Woolf statue to be unveiled in Richmond

Image above: the completed Virginia Woolf statue

Statue will be unveiled on Wednesday 16 November

A statue of Virginia Woolf will be unveiled to the public in Richmond on Wednesday (16 November).

The statue is long-awaited, as the task of raising the £50,000 needed to fund the project took five years, relying mainly on small donations from individuals.

Virginia Woolf lived and work Richmond with her husband Leonard over a century ago. The celebrated author and champion of women’s rights is now being honoured with a public statue in the town where they lived from 1914 to 1924. Her great niece Emma Woolf will carry out the ceremony on Wednesday at 2.30pm.

Many famous names have supported the statue, 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.

Richmond MP Sarah Olney, Lord Zac Goldsmith, and many Richmond Councillors have also endorsed the project.

The public expressed overwhelming support for the project with over 250 individual donations and thousands of likes and positive engagement on social media. Richmond Council held two public consultations, which showed support for the project, with 83% and 92% in favour of the project.

Above: Emma Woolf – Virginia Woolf’s great niece – says she is ‘thrilled’ the unveiling is finally happening

Statue will help to address lack of women’s statues in Britain, say creators

The bronze artwork features a smiling Woolf sitting on a bench, where people can sit next to her while enjoying the Thames. It was initially thought the statue would be placed on the riverside walk, where it will sit on the upper terrace.

Champions of the project had to overcome objections from The Richmond Society, who thought the siting of the statue on the riverside was ‘insensitive and reckless’ because Virginia died by drowning. Council planners later overruled these objections.

A recent audit of statues in London showed that there are more monuments depicting animals than there are in honour of named women, so the unveiling of this new statue is a step in the direction of redressing the balance.

Aurora Metro Arts and Media Charity has dedicated five years to fundraising and campaigning for the funds to create a memorial.

Cheryl Robson, who created the artwork, said:

“Women are completely under-represented in public sculptures in Britain. You had to be a queen or a naked muse to merit being depicted. We see our Virginia artwork as an attempt to begin redressing this imbalance.”

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