Sculpture is fitting tribute to a great lady
LORD Anthony Hothfield is thrilled to be the owner of a first edition solid bronze model of the Lady Anne’s Way sculpture which is destined to become a major new tourist attraction for Kirkby Stephen.
Renowned sculptor Diane Lawrenson, of Winton, near Kirkby Stephen, is creating a “slightly bigger than life-size” bronze sculpture of Lady Anne Clifford (1590 to 1676) that will proudly stand in the town centre.
To help fund the cost of making the sculpture of Lady Anne, who was 4ft 10in tall, Diane is making 10 limited edition smaller models, or maquettes, nine of which are being offered for sale.
Lord Hothfield, aged 78, of Drybeck Hall, who is a descendant of Lady Anne, purchased the first edition of the “concept piece” for an undisclosed amount, but feels that he has made a good investment.
He said that anybody who has a maquette of Antony Gormley’s Angel of the North is doing very well. A series of five maquettes were produced during the development stage of the full-scale Angel of the North. The models were two metres in height, with a five-metre wing span, compared with the 20-metre high Angel near Gateshead, which has wings of 54 metres.
At a Sotheby’s auction, one of the maquettes sold for £2.28 million. An additional bronze maquette used in fundraising in the 1990s, owned by Gateshead Council, was valued at £1 million on the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow.
Lord Hothfield had been supportive of Diane’s research, allowing her to see his paintings of Lady Anne, and also to photograph them, to create a 3D portrait for the large sculpture of Lady Anne’s Way.
As part of an awareness-raising tour, a maquette similar to the one owned by Lord Hothfield can be viewed at Kirkby Stephen visitor centre until 16th April. It will then move on to Appleby tourist information centre from 18th-28th April before being on show as part of the Warcop art exhibition from 4th-7th May.
A Penrith venue is to be confirmed to showcase the bronze model of the statue in June and it will then form part of the Royal Cambrian Academy Summer Exhibition from 7th July to 8th September before going on display in the London Mall Galleries from 25th-30th September.
There is no date set for the completion of the bigger statue, but the raising of funds for the final sculpture is under way.
“When that is achieved, plans will be put into place for the unveiling. The tour, I hope it will create interest. It may help in raising funds toward the sculpture,” said Diane, who won the sculpture prize for her Bronte sisters statue in the 2013 Society of Women Artists exhibition awards.
Lord Hothfield, a retired civil engineer, said that Diane had decided to make the Lady Anne’s Way sculpture slightly over life-size because she wanted people to be able to look the determined striding figure “in the eye”.
He said Lady Anne was a plain speaking, plain dressing, proud northern lady, who rebuilt five castles which had been damaged by Oliver Cromwell.
“I think it is the only statue of Lady Anne that I know of and I think it should attract a lot of visitors,” said Lord Hothfield.
As well as being on Lady Anne’s Way — a 100-mile route from Skipton to Penrith — Kirkby Stephen is also on the popular coast to coast route which runs from St Bees to Robin Hood’s Bay.
Lord Hothfield said he thought his solid bronze statue, which weighs five kilos, was “wonderful”. He said he was an enthusiastic collector of anything to do with Lady Anne, who is his eight times great-grandmother.
Lord Hothfield, who was brought up in Hertfordshire and is married to Lulie, has two children, Emma, who is a vet, and William, who is a doctor. He has lived at Drybeck Hall for just over 30 years, but his family had Appleby Castle before it was sold in the 1960s. It was one of Lady Anne’s castles along with Brough, Brougham, Pendragon and Skipton. She moved from one to another, repaired them and lived in them all.
“She was very determined, quite a stern character. She was obsessive about obtaining her own inheritance. Her father, the Earl of Cumberland, died when she was just a young girl and her father left the Westmorland estate to his brother, Robert,” said Lord Hothfield.
The brother had a son, Lady Anne’s cousin, but he died when Lady Anne was 53, so she then inherited, even under the terms of her father’s will, and lived to be 87.
“She is known by everybody in Appleby. She founded the almshouses in Appleby, she repaired the church and many other churches and schools,” said Lord Hothfield. “I think the (life-size) statue will become very well known as a local landmark and be a fitting tribute to a great lady.”