Twickenham’s Naked Ladies scrub up well

The Naked Ladies statues, one of Twickenham’s most famous landmarks, are looking as good as new after being restored.

The statues are situated in the grounds of York House, the historic stately home currently used as Richmond’s Town Hall.

After centuries of private ownership, Richmond Council acquired the home in 1924, and the gardens have since become popular with the public.

The fountain, named after its eight sea nymphs, is one of York House’s main attractions and has a storied history.

Commissioned during the 19th century by famous fraudster and swindler Whitaker Wright, they are made of white marble originally from the Carrara region of Italy, although no one knows for certain who created them.

During the Second World War, the Naked Ladies were covered in mud to stop Luftwaffe planes using moonlight reflections off them to navigate to and from London.

The statues have gone through at least one major restoration in their history, and since 1983 the fountain has had Grade II listed status by Historic England, marking it as “a building or structure of special interest, warranting every effort to preserve it”.

The recent renovation work, which included removal of moss and foliage, was announced by Richmond Council in October as part of a larger effort to restore the exterior of York House.

Specialists were brought in to clean the stonework, which was placed under protective scaffolding, whilst the fountain pool was drained to allow an overhaul of the water pump.

In addition, surrounding trees and bushes have been pruned.

Jeremy Hooton, who works within the grounds of York House, said: “They are an amazing feature down there, they are absolutely incredible to look at and they really do add to the gardens.

“When you go down to sunken gardens, over the bridge, it just really does make the gardens feel special, looking at those statues. And then when you take a walk along the river, it’s beautiful.”

In addition to being a prominent Twickenham landmark, the statues also lend their name to a locally produced beer and are a popular location for wedding photographs.

Thanks to the recent work, as COVID-19 restrictions are increasingly lifted, people can look forward to visiting Twickenham’s Naked Ladies again at their breathtaking best.

Featured Image Credit: “The Naked Ladies of Twickenham – London” by Jim Linwood (CC BY 2.0)

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