See Essex sculptor's design for RSPB founder's statue at Minsmere reserve
- Credit: Mark Waugh/Manchester Press Photography Ltd
Four competing bronze statuettes of RSPB founder Emily Williamson are set to visit RSPB Minsmere - including one by Essex sculptor Billie Bond.
The four designs, including the creation by Billie, from Great Waltham, near Chelmsford, will visit Minsmere from 10am-4pm on August 24.
You can vote for your favourite out of the four statues to help raise public awareness of Emily, an unsung conservation heroine. The winning design is set to become a life-size statue.
The Emily Williamson Statue Campaign and the RSPB is bringing "maquettes" of the four designs to eight iconic bird reserves, including Minsmere.
Emily (1855-1936) was born in Lancaster and later moved to Manchester and London. She founded her all-female Society for the Protection of Birds in 1889, campaigning against the cruel fashion for feathered hats - but has not been remembered by history.
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This is all set to change, with plans for a £100,000 crowdfunded statue in the grounds of her home, now Fletcher Moss Park, Manchester.
Billie Bond makes direct reference to ‘murderous millinery’ in her design, with a bird hat, turned upside down to become a bird bath.
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Billie said: “To me, the feathers, the hats and the birds were the most important part of the story. The statue needs to shock, to show what was happening.
"But I wanted the hat to also tell a different story. By turning it upside down, Emily is giving it back to the birds. The little bird perched on the rim is a robin. It’s a symbolic offering: the robin represents rebirth.”
The other designs have been created by Clare Abbatt, of Northamptonshire, international artist Laury Dizengremel, who lives in France, and Eve Shepherd, of Brighton.
Andrew Simcock, chair of the Emily Williamson Statue Committee, who is taking part in the tour, said: "The key to a successful statue campaign is public involvement. Seeking community views on the designs helps the selection committee make a well-informed choice."
If you can't make it to Minsmere, you can vote online until October 31. It is also still possible to donate to the crowdfunder campaign.