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.
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The Royal College of Surgeons, Nicolson Street, Edinburgh
In this powerfully poignant sculpture Kenny has captured the utter exhaustion of the NHS staff as they came off duty, slowly removed their PPE and attempted to readjust to life outside the hospital wards. There is an almost zombie like feel to the figures as they reflect the effects of both the trauma of treating the seriously ill and the dying, and the tiring long hours of shift work the NHS staff endured.
Each figure stands on its own base and has been carefully separated from the others, so that although in a group, every figure stands very much alone. This deliberate separation being symbolic not only of the social distancing everyone observed during the pandemic, but also of the isolation so many people felt. This Covid memorial resonates with the viewer because as Kenny has pointed out, ‘Everyone on the planet was involved in this drama, this tragedy.’
THE PUBLIC VOTE
for the most popular new sculpture shortlisted for
the 2023 Marsh Award for Excellence in Public Sculpture
Waterloo Station, London
Basil Watson was delighted, ‘To have my work recognized and shortlisted by the PSSA for the Marsh Award for Excellence in Public Sculpture is a great honour.
Ultimately the work is done to connect with the public and to stir their emotion, and to see the public, in record numbers, have voted for my work as their favourite is absolutely overwhelming. I want to thank all those who voted for Public Sculpture and especially all those who voted for The National Windrush Monument.’
Basil explained, ‘The National Windrush Monument has been my personal Empire Windrush voyage, literally and figuratively transporting me along a journey through my past, present and into the future. It has opened insights into my past that were seemingly meaningless dots within my history, and connected them with my present experiences and is propelling me into a future that has a new perspective and appreciation of who I am. My parents were early Windrush generation pioneers, meeting on the ship to London in about 1952, spending a decade in the pursuit of betterment then returning to a newly independent Jamaica in 1962. My father would say that he is a “ship with a set rudder” and this monument has helped me to plot the course he and others traversed as they embarked on a mission of self-advancement, while rebuilding a Britain that they somewhat regarded as their motherland, and you recognize the challenges they faced.
Decked in their special attire along with their bulging suitcases, it clearly demonstrates that this was a special journey and a seismic moment in history. This monument means so much to so many and it has been a great honour to have been challenged with the responsibility of creating it, and now this recognition by the PSSA is further gratification that carries the journey over the top.’
We are delighted to announce the publication of Public Sculpture of Kensington and Chelsea with Westminster South-West by Terry Cavanagh.
In this volume, which is the 22nd in the acclaimed Public Sculpture of Britain series, Terry Cavanagh, the author of three previous volumes, provides a comprehensive, scholarly and highly readable account of over 250 public sculptures in Kensington, Chelsea and Westminster South-West.
Many great sculptures stand within the area’s parks: Kensington Gardens, with the magnificent Albert Memorial, the much-loved Peter Pan and Henry Moore’s Arch; and Hyde Park, with Jacob Epstein’s vibrant Rima. Statues in streets, squares and gardens reflect scientific progress, exploration and artistic achievement: Jenner, Shackleton, Livingstone, Carlyle, Mozart, Bartók and Whistler are just some of those commemorated. For those who look up, sculptures of faces, figures and animals greet them: Art Deco dominates once-great department stores (Barkers and Derry & Toms); allegorical figures enrich Victoria Station; the Natural History Museum exterior boasts a prehistoric menagerie; and there is a pantheon of celebrated artists on the Victoria & Albert Museum façade. Two of London’s ‘Magnificent Seven’ cemeteries, Brompton and Kensal Green, are in the area and teem with monuments, while sculptural decorations help make Holy Trinity, Sloane Square, the ‘cathedral of the Arts and Crafts Movement’.
Public Sculpture of Kensington and Chelsea with Westminster South-West is a richly illustrated and indispensable resource. The book is available from the PSSA bookshop, hardback £85.00 and softback £35.00.
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 155 statues now on the database is the start, it is not definitive, please help us to keep this interesting resource alive and current.