Unveiling of the finished maquette at Epsom Downs Racecourse

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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4 thoughts on “Unveiling of the finished maquette at Epsom Downs Racecourse”

  1. Elinor Whitaker

    Emily was my great great aunt & of course I’m very proud of her. I am descended from Emily’s 1/2 sister, Isabel Davison. I would very much like to come to the unveiling of the plaque. I am in touch with some of the Davison relatives from her fathers 1st wife & also the French branch who are descended from both Emily’s parents; so they are her closest relatives. Pierre De Baecker is the grandson of Emily’s full sister Letitia. VSeveral of us came to Morpeth for the 2003 90th memorial, Morpeth & Epsom for the 2013 100th. I know we would love to have the family at the unveiling if this is possible. Looking forward to hearing from you. Elinor

  2. Elinor Whitaker

    I have previously written to ask if some of the Davison family could be invited to the unveiling if it happens in June 3019. Emily Davison was my gt gt aunt. We came to Epsom in 2013 & to Morpeth in 2003 & 2013 & would vey much like to be included in the celebration. Please could u keep me up to date in the arrangements. Thanks
    Elinor Whitaker

  3. Mike Davison

    I too am a descendant of Emily. I have been to the many days at Morpeth, the 100th as mentioned by Elinor was on one such occasion and was also at the unveiling of the plaque at Tattenham Corner. I was also the person who unveiled the blue plaque at the Cottage Hospital on behalf of Northumberland council.

    My cousin Barbara who lives in Epsom told me about the proposed statue and I too along with a number of my cousins would like to be invited to the unveiling.

    Could you please keep in touch as to the date

    Mike Davison

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