After 200 years, Mary Wollstonecraft is finally being commemorated for her contribution to feminism.
The world’s first sculpture of Mary Wollstonecraft, also known as ‘the Mother of Feminism’, has finally been unveiled in North London. She died tragically in 1797 and hasn’t been publicly recognised for her contribution to the advancement of gender equality, until now. [Featured image: @localbuyersclub]
Born and raised in London, it is only fitting that her sculpture is here and you’ll find it in Newington Green, where she once worked. It’s definitely not your average statue though: for starters, she is depicted both in silver and the nude. The artist Maggi Hambling also depicts the pioneering author and activist emerging from a sea of silver, to personify Wollstonecraft’s unwavering spirit. It is quite the sight to behold.
Wollstonecraft’s most famous contribution was undoubtedly ‘A Vindication of the Rights of Women’ (1792), which unapologetically challenged the status quo. There is no doubt that she was way ahead of her time, advocating for the equality of the sexes and even sex outside of marriage. It’s about time that she was remembered for her groundbreaking work and paving the way for feminists to come, and this sculpture is a great start.
According to Hambling, the sculpture “encourages a visual conversation with the obstacles Wollstonecraft overcame, the ideals she strived for and what she made happen. A vital contemporary discourse for all that is still to be achieved.” As the Evening Standard has noted, however, not everyone is quite so keen on the way in which the statue pays tribute to Wollstonecraft, with many questioning why she’s been memorialised in the nude.
It’s not the first statue of Hambling’s that you’ll find in the capital – you can head to Charing Cross station to view her iconic ‘Conversation with Oscar Wilde’ sculpture. Surprisingly, it was no easy feat getting the Mary Wollstonecraft statue built, as this epic memorial took ten years of fundraising, volunteering and a grand total of £143,000 to complete. But I’m sure you’ll agree it was well worth the wait.