On my travels I love to see statues of favourite literary characters. In Philadelphia recently I sought out a statue of Dickens with Little Nell at his side, I love the one of Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens (it was erected overnight so that children would think it had appeared by magic), and one of Sherlock Holmes in Edinburgh near the spot where Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was born. There’s a statue of Paddington Bear at Paddington Station, one of Rip van Winkle near the home of Washington Irving, a fabulous one of Sam-I-Am carrying green eggs and ham in Springfield, one of Mowgli in India, and some gorgeous ones of CS Lewis’s characters from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in Belfast. Don Quixote features in several Spanish towns, and of course Shakespeare’s characters have been immortalised in bronze and stone around the world.
One of the most beloved of all literary statues is The Little Mermaid from Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairy tale. It was a gift to Copenhagen from the wealthy son of a brewer who loved the story. A ballerina who had danced in a version of the story was the model for the head and the sculptor’s wife modelled for the nude body. Sadly, she has been vandalised several times – decapitated, lost an arm, daubed in paint and even dressed in a burqa, but she is always mended and, sitting serenely on her rock, is today an iconic image of the Danish capital. There are more than 13 copies of the statue around the world.
Do you have some favourite statues of literary characters? Do let me know by leaving a comment.
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