Mary Clarke was the first suffragette to give her life for women’s right to vote but there is no public memorial to her anywhere in the country.
Brighton, where she lived and worked, has few memorials to women and no statues of women other than of Queen Victoria.
The Mary Clarke Statue Appeal was set up late last year to fund a statue of Mary Clarke as a symbol for the city of women’s rights, equality and democracy.
The appeal aims to site the statue in or near the Pavilion Estate where the suffrage movement had strong historic links.
The hope is to place it in the garden near the museum entrance where it can easily be seen by every school party, resident and visitor.
The appeal needs to raise £60,000.
In the past month
- The Mary Clarke Statue Appeal has achieved charity status
- Brighton and Hove City Council has granted £10,000 to fund a bronze maquette (model) of the planned statue
- a sculptor has been chosen following a short competition
Denise Dutton MRSS, from Leek, in Staffordshire, has been appointed to make the initial bronze maquette of Mary Clarke and then, provided the funding can be secured, to make the statue.
Denise studied sculpture at the prestigious Sir Henry Doulton School of Sculpture in Stoke-on-Trent. She has worked on numerous commissions both public and private over the past 24 years.
Her works include the suffragette Annie Kenney, unveiled in Oldham in December last year, the Land Girl and Lumber Jill memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas which was unveiled in 2014, a portrait bust of Sir Neville Mott, who won the Nobel Prize for Physics, at the Mott Building, Cambridge, and a life-size equestrian statue of the last Maharajah of India, Duleep Singh.
Denise said: “I will be pleased to work with the trustees of the Mary Clarke Statue appeal and to be a part of realising their mission in bringing the memory of Mary’s life story to others through the statue.
“The making of a sculpture goes further than a sheer physical task. It’s also about the artist’s engagement with the subject.
“I feel empathy with Mary, for what for she endured through her life and what she fought for. These emotions will be ever present during the realisation of the commission.”
At the Mary Clarke Statue Appeal, we are delighted that Denise has agreed to take on this commission.
She is a fine sculptor with experience of producing inspirational commemorative work. She also has an excellent understanding of the suffrage movement because of the work she did on the sculpture of Annie Kenney.
At Mary’s memorial service in Brighton, local suffragette Isabella McKeown said: “Her they must not mourn in silence. They must take the torch from her and light the darkness.”
We are asking local people to take up the torch and support this campaign to commemorate Mary Clarke and the ideals for which she gave her life – freedom, democracy and equal rights.
To donate, visit https://maryclarkestatue.com. To support the appeal in other ways, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jean Calder is the chair of the Mary Clarke Statue Appeal.