On Thursday 11th October, Emily’s birthday, Sarah Dewing Chair of the Emily Davison memorial Project along with the artist Christine Charlesworth unveiled the finished maquette, small version of the planned statue to go in Epsom town centre, at Epsom Downs Racecourse near the spot where emily walked in front of the King’s horse on the 4th June 1913.
Commissioned by the Emily Davison Memorial Project, the finished bronze sculpture will be positioned in Epsom town centre. It will sit on a pale granite bench allowing visitors to sit with Emily. There are also plans to make the statue interactive so anyone with a smartphone will be able to hear and see Emily, played by an actress, tell her story as they sit on the bench beside her. Before starting the maquette Christine spent a lot of time getting to know her subject with the help of historians. This has allowed her to focus on those elements of Emily’s character that defined her life and beliefs. The work depicts various aspects of this leading suffragette who is best known for being fatally struck by King George V’s horse after walking out onto the course at the 1913 Epsom Derby.
Emily Davison was highly educated with two university degrees. She had a good sense of humour and was a popular, kind and articulate woman. Christine felt that it would be appropriate to depict her not just as somebody who was passionate about women’s suffrage, but also as an approachable, attentive and sociable woman, happily conversing with whoever decides to sit next to her on the bench. Beside her will be some of her favourite books, together with the mortar board which she always wore when marching with the suffragettes. Christine will also add to the statue Emily’s hunger strike medal which has seven bars each representing the time she went on hunger strike, Emily was force-fed 49 times. Her hat is a copy of the hat Emily wore at the Derby on 4th June 1913.
The maquette has been produced to enable the residents of Epsom, people interested in women’s history and potential sponsors to see how the finished sculpture will look. Limited edition Bronze and Bronze resin ‘collectors’ piece, are also on sale with the profits going towards the £50,000 funds needed for the sculpture. Work on the main figure will start in November and unveiling is planned for June 2019.
Paul Taylor Vice-Chair of the Emily Davison Memorial Project said: “This is more than just a statue. Christine has added details of Emily’s life that most people are unaware of to the sculpture and with the added technology enabling people to hear her story we hope current and future generations will get to know the real Emily Davison.”
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