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Public Statues and Sculpture Association

Ouida

Photo: Tracy Jenkins/Art UK: CC BY-NC

Sculptor: Ernest Gillick (1874—1951)

Materials: Two bronze female figures: Courage holding a sword, Sympathy holding a puppy on either side of rectangular Portland stone column. Bronze relief profile portrait of Ouida.

Inscription: Above portrait relief: OUIDA. LOUISE DE LA RAMEE; beneath: BORN AT BURY ST EDMUNDS JANUARY 1ST 1839, DIED AT VIAREGGIO, ITALY, JANUARY 25TH 1908. HER FRIENDS HAVE ERECTED THIS FOUNTAIN IN THE PLACE OF HER BIRTH. HERE MAY GOD'S CREATURES WHOM SHE LOVED ASSUAGE HER TENDER SOUL AS THEY DRINK. CURZON OF KEDLESTON. Opposite side: THIS MEMORIAL WAS ERECTED FROM FUNDS SUBSCRIBED BY READERS OF THE DAILY MIRROR AND BY FRIENDS AND ADMIRERS IN ALL PARTS OF THE WORLD.

Unveiled: 1910 by Lady Evelyn Guinness.

Listed: Grade II

Condition: Conserved in 2018.

Ouida

Ouida, pseudonym of Maria Louise de la Ramée (1839— 1908). The child of a Parisian émigre and a wine merchant’s daughter, Ouida was a popular English sensation novelist, and writer of short stories, essays and children’s books. The gender-neutral pseudonymn, Ouida, with which she authored her writings, is thought to derive from her childish attempts to pronounce Louisa. An anti-vivisectionist, she was committed to animal rights and owned numerous dogs. She resided at the Langham Hotel, London from 1867, where enjoying popular success as a romantic novelist, she lived extravagantly, entertaining notable literary figures of the day. It was also the year her celebrated military novel, Under Two Flags, was published. Describing the British in Algeria and showing sympathy with the French colonists, this novel was made into a stage play and there were several film versions. In 1871, she moved to Italy where she wrote one of her best known children’s books, A Dog of Flanders (1872), which also became a film. She settled first in Florence in 1874 and then at Bagni di Lucca, finally dying in penury at Viareggio. This memorial, originally also a drinking fountain for dogs and horses, was erected through a public subscription organised by her friends and was erected in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, her birthplace. The inscription dedicating  the memorial to Ouida was composed by Lord Curzon of Kedleston (1859—1925). For a fuller account of her life see The Victorian Web. 

Location: Vinery Road at junction with Out Westgate, Horringer Road and Petticoat Lane, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk IP33 2DF.