Virginia Woolf statue unveiled in Richmond

A bronze statue of legendary author Virginia Woolf was unveiled by artist and award winning sculptor Laury Dizengremel on Richmond Riverside on November 16. 

Emma Woolf, her son Ludo and Sophie Partridge, all of which are descendants of Woolf, carried out the unveiling. 

Figureheads for the campaign were writer and publisher Cheryl Robson, writer Anne Sebba and writer and broadcaster Bamber Gascoigne. 

When talking about the unveiling of the statue, Robson said: “It was fantastic to finally unveil the sculpture after the five years of campaigning and fundraising to bring the project to fruition.

“Living and working in the borough of Richmond I felt there was an opportunity to not only celebrate the ten years which Virginia Woolf spent in the borough but to correct much misinformation surrounding her life here. 

“We published a book called ‘Virginia Woolf in Richmond’ by Peter Fullagar to clarify the facts and educate people as little was known of her early life here apart from the establishment of the Hogarth Press with her husband Leonard Woolf.”

To help with funding, two books were published: Virginia Woolf in Richmond by Peter Fullagar (£12.99) and The Women Writers Handbook edited by Ann Sandham (£12.99).

Funds were raised through readings, talks, online events, film screenings, a reading challenge and crowdfunding which involved many volunteers. 

Supporters of the project include Margaret Atwood and Caitlin Moran. 

The charity raised £50,000 following their 5-year campaign which was used to fund the design and manufacture of the statue as well as shipping, installation and publicity. 

Woolf is also remembered for her feminism as well as for being an LGBTQ icon.

She openly talked about her relationship with Vita Sackville-West which inspired the writing of Orlando: A biography. 

Furthermore, Robson said: “I would like her to be remembered as the lively, witty, creative woman she was.”

She added: “Although some of her attitudes were stuck in her time, many of her creative ideas were way ahead of her contemporaries. 

“The flow of projects based on her life and work by other writers, artists and filmmakers is ongoing and considerable, with Orlando adapted by Neil Bartlett in the West End and The Hours adapted by Michael Cunningham and directed by Phelim McDermott being two current examples. 

“I think that each generation rediscovers Virginia Woolf and interprets her work differently, and that complexity is what guarantees her a place in the literary canon.”

Richmond Council held a public consultation in 2018 in regard to the project with 83% of people voting in favour of it. 

Again in 2021, the council held another public consultation in which they saw an increase in those favouring the project – a figure of 91%.

Woolf has very strong links with London, with her childhood home at 22 Hyde Park Gate, Kensington where she lived with her parents Julia Prinsep Duckworth Stephen and Sir Leslie Stephen as well as her siblings Vanessa, Thornby and Adrian. 

After the death of her father in 1904, Woolf and her siblings sold their family home and she moved to 46 Gordon Square in Bloomsbury.

Whilst living in Bloomsbury, the family became part of The Bloomsbury Group, which is a group of associated English writers, intellectuals, philosophers, and artists who had studied at Cambridge or worked in Bloomsbury. 

In 1910, 1912 and 1913 Woolf resided at Burley House in Twickenham – the residence was said to be a private nursing home for women with “nervous disorders.” 

Enjoying the outskirts of London, Woolf moved to Hogarth House in Richmond in 1915 with her husband Leonard. 

However, she returned to the city in 1924, which helped to inspire many of her novels. 

The statue celebrates Woolf’s residence in Richmond where she developed as a writer and set up Hogarth Press alongside her husband Leonard.

Campaigners are planning to run regular walks around Richmond during the Spring.

There is also hope that a one-day Dalloway Day festival in mid-June with talks, writing workshops and other events will be produced.

Visitors are able to sit next to Woolf on the bench and take pictures.

Pictures can be uploaded on social media with the hashtag #virginiaselfies.

Donations and information regarding the statue can be found here at 

Featured image credit: Aurora Metro

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