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Public Statues and Sculpture Association

Advancing the Understanding of Public Statues and Sculpture

Temple of British Worthies, Stowe, Buckinghamshire (National Trust), c. 1734-5. Monument by William Kent (c.1685-1748), marble busts by John Michael Rysbrack (1694-1770) and Peter Scheemakers (1691-1781). Listed Grade I. Photo: public domain.

The Public Statues and Sculpture Association (PSSA)

The PSSA encourages engagement with the many thousands of sculptures in the public domain across the UK, which represent an important part of our shared cultural heritage. It champions the historical, artistic and social context of public statues and sculpture, and also promotes education about sculpture, publishing articles, academic papers and specialist books. For more details see About Us.
Please help the PSSA achieve its objectives by becoming a member.

Explore the  PSSA Database –  UK Public Sculptures of Women

Over 100 public statues of women can be found in the UK. On the occasion of International Women’s Day, 8 March 2021, the PSSA launched a database of non-royal sculptures representing women of achievement from past and present.

The first statue commemorating a named black woman in the UK; the first female UK Prime Minister; the first woman to take her seat in the House of Commons; the first woman to become mayor of a London borough, the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia; the first British woman to win all four major tennis tournaments; the first woman apart from members of the royal family to be commemorated in a statue. They can all be found here.

Discover the statues of women in  your local area or tell the PSSA about those which are missing from the database. The 115 statues now on the database is the start, it is not definitive, please help us to keep this interesting resource alive and current.

Martin Jennings FRSS, Mary Seacole, St Thomas’ Hospital, London. Photo: Creative Commons


Discovering Women Sculptors – Exciting New Series

Tuesday 14 September Maria Faydherbe: a seventeenth-century sculptor in Mechelen by Dr Holly Trusted;
‘Breekbaar afgebeeld’: Anna Maria van Schurman as a sculptor by Erik Bijzet

Tuesday 21 September ‘A woman among the sculptors is a phenomenon which excites wonder and demands investigation’ – Women and Sculpture in Ireland by Professor Paula Murphy

Tuesday 28 September Barbara Hepworth and the Festival of Britain by Eleanor Clayton

Tuesday 5 October Princess and Pupil: new light on the sculpture of Susan Durant and Victoria, Princess Royal, Crown Princess of Prussia by Sir Jonathan Marsden

Tuesday 12 October A Sisterhood of Sculptors: American Artists in 19th Century Rome by Professor Melissa Dabakis

Tuesday 19 October Exploring difference: Three women sculptors imaging non-European subjects in an age of Empire c.1925-1946 by Dr Jonathan Black

Tuesday 26 October ‘I have created nothing really beautiful:’Augusta Savage’s Practice’ by Dr Jeffreen Hayes

Tuesday 2 November ‘As feminists we rejoice in your great achievement’: the sculptural work of Mary Gillick by Philip Attwood

Tuesday 9 November Women wood carvers and the School of Art Woodcarving c.1879-1930 by Ann Compton

Tuesday 16 November Mary Spencer Watson: Purbeck Sculptor by Caroline Stanford

Tuesday 23 November Gertrude Alice Meredith Williams by Phyllida Shaw

Tuesday 30 November Helen Pheby (YSP) in conversation with Holly Hendry

Please book via Eventbrite
Talks are free for members of the PSSA and £3.50 per talk for non-members.
Please note you need to book and pay separately for each talk you wish to attend.

Gabriel Hayes working on the Aviation relief for the façade of the new Department of Industry and Commerce building in Kildare Street in Dublin in 1942.

The 2021 Marsh Awards for Excellence in Public Sculpture, Fountains and Conservation.

The 2021 Marsh Awards are now closed for nominations and entries. The shortlist will be published on this website and on the PSSA’s social media platforms on Tuesday 2 November and the winners will be announced in December.

Toppling Statues Webinar and Publication

The PSSA held a highly successful webinar, Toppling Statues in November 2020, co-hosted by The Burlington Magazine, which coincided with the Burlington’s annual sculpture issue. It was a lively forum, serious academic debate highlighted the sculptures and their makers, the subjects depicted, their historical, social and economic contexts, and the ways in which these sculptures are viewed today. Further details and edited recordings of the webinar are available on this website.

The PSSA has now produced its first publication, Toppling Statues, which contains a selection of these webinar papers and can be purchased from our online shop. PSSA members are entitled to free p&p.

This is emphatically a book of the moment. The tumultuous world events of 2020, COVID-19 and the killing of George Floyd, suddenly and dramatically made public monuments to monarchs, empire builders, politicians and merchants highly controversial. This applied especially to any perceived relationship that they had with slavery and imperial conquest. Should they stay or should they go? Or is there a viable third way, to retain and explain them? This book provides different perspectives and background information which open up discussion and encourage informed debate.

Richard Westmacott, the Elder (1775-1856), Robert Milligan, 1809-13, bronze. West India Docks, London, removed June 2020. Photo: © CC-BY-SA 4.0, Chris McKenna