I travelled home today. I live in West Cornwall, very near Land’s End. At home I gazed at the garden sculpture we inherited when we moved in – the bits we didn’t give away like the dogs and pigs. The classical figures of women with their patina of age have a certain charm though I am seeing them today with new eyes. One of women, their arms alluringly raised, supporting a bird bath, another, a woman in classical dress reaching over. Just like everyone I take for granted that this is the way that sculpture portrays women.
The public sculpture in Derby that I’ve seen so far includes the typical heroic male (Bonnie Prince Charlie) and the charming ‘Boy with a Goose’ but also some women. Unusually the war memorial is a woman holding a baby. War memorials mostly represent those that died, not the women that bore sons who went off to war so it is a touching tribute. I also found Florence Nightingale on the side of a building. I was glad to find these two tributes to women, - even if there are 3 other men commemorated around the opposite side of the building to Florence, reflecting the usual gender inequality when it comes to civic statues.
What is the significance of monuments? Do we think differently about our lives when