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Public Statues and Sculpture Association

Advancing the Understanding of Public Statues and Sculpture

Charles Sargeant Jagger (1885-1934), Royal Artillery War Memorial (detail) 1925, structure of the memorial in Portland Stone, recumbent figure bronze l. 2.88m, Hyde Park Corner, London. Photo: nikoretro, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

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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.

Public Sculpture in Britain 1945-1980 Webinar

SATURDAY 21 MAY 2022

Co-hosted by the Public Statues and Sculpture Association and the Scottish Society for Art History

Following the trauma of the Second World War, the post-war period was a time of change, innovation and creativity that saw the emergence of new movements, art forms and new ideas about the role of the artist in society. The establishment of the Arts Council of Great Britain saw public funding for art on a greater scale than ever before. New Towns were built to replace bomb-damaged housing and tackle housing problems. Public artworks were commissioned for new public buildings and civic spaces as symbols of culture-led regeneration. Installations and exhibitions, such as ‘Enterprise Scotland’ (1947) and the ‘Festival of Britain’ (1951), played an important role in bringing sculpture to a wider audience and creating spaces for experience and exchange.

This webinar is taking place on Zoom. See full programme and book to attend on Eventbrite. The event is free for members of the PSSA, the SSAH and the AAH.

David Harding, Work, 1970, Western Avenue pedestrian underpass, near to Glenrothes, Fife, concrete relief. Photo: Peter Goldsmith

CALL FOR PAPERS: CONFERENCE 17-18 SEPTEMBER 2022

Co-organised by the Public Statues and Sculpture Association and the Victorian Society

A new aesthetic or ‘mere decoration’? Architectural Sculpture in Britain 1850-1914

We invite proposals for papers to be presented at the conference to discuss architectural sculpture in Britain from 1850 to 1914 at the Art Workers Guild in London on Saturday 17 September 2022. The conference will be followed by guided walks around selected Victorian and Edwardian buildings in London on Sunday 18 September.

Abstracts and a brief c.v. of approximately 150 words each should be submitted to Joanna Barnes and Holly Trusted (co-chairs PSSA) at office@pssauk.org by 30 May 2022.

Themes to be explored could include:

  • Patronage and commissions
  • The relation between British and Continental European architectural sculpture
  • The introduction and impact of new materials such as terracotta
  • Collaborative projects between architects, sculptors and firms such as Farmer and Brindley
  • Individual programmes of architecture and sculpture such as Llandaff Cathedral
  • The visual relationships between figurative sculptures and their architectural frameworks
  • The effects of collaborative work on the autonomy of sculptors
  • The representation and objectification of women in sculpture
  • The representation and misrepresentation of Empire in sculpture
  • Women sculptors in a man’s world
  • Choice of materials and evidence of decay
  • Victorian and Edwardian sculpture and the effect of climate change.

The Albert Memorial, designer, George Gilbert Scott, completed 1876, Kensington Gardens, London.
Photo: DAVID ILIFF. Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0

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 143 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 CC BY-SA 4.0