The Mary Wollstonecraft Memorial: The winner and the runner-up

On the left, the winner of the Mary Wollstonecraft memorial competition. On the right, the runner-up.

I learned about all this from Mick Hartley. Here‘s what Hartley says about the Maggi Hambling winner, and here‘s what he says about the Martin Jennings runner-up.

My only strong opinion is that the Maggi Hambling one looks so tacky. Like something you’d (actually not) buy, for ten quid, in a “gift” shop. Hartley says that Maggi Hambling’s design is “about Maggi Hambling”. But it is hardly even about that. It’s just some banal 3D picture of a conventionally pretty woman with no clothes on, at the top a pile of stuff.

Part of my irritation is indeed that Maggi Hambling breaks the conventions of such statues. The usual statue of someone is a likeness of them, fully clothed. But that’s a pretty good convention, I think. The statue needs to look the way whoever it was looked, at their best and most characteristic. If they did a particular job, they need to be wearing the uniform for that job.

Maggi Hambling is quoted by the Standard saying we’re missing the point. I get the point. I see what she was trying to do. And quite aside from the fact that it’s not a statue of Mary Wollstonecraft but instead of a generic naked woman, I just don’t much like what she ended up doing.

Will the runner-up end up winning?

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