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Leaning Woman Statue

Restoration of 1950s statue by Karel Vogel

From 1956 onwards, the LCC sited approximately fifty artworks around housing estates, schools and public buildings, as part of its Patronage of the Arts scheme. This sculpture was commissioned by the LCC in 1958, designed to compensate the people of Hammersmith for the enlargement of the Great West Road.

Dr Karel Vogel arrived in Britain from Prague in 1938. His pre-War work was conventionally classical, but like other artists of the time he began experimenting with industrial materials. The Leaning Woman, a semi-nude idealised figure nearly twice life size, was cast in concrete around a metal armature. Her arms rest lightly on an absent surface and her weight is cantilevered from the base. Her floating appearance linked her surroundings 'in neo-classical calm with the swiftness of the fast modern world'. It was one of Vogel's final works and took a year to complete.

Over last decades the concrete has cracked and there is sign of rust where the armature is exposed. Past repairs in smooth cement were inappropriate to the work and have now failed. The statue was put on the Heritage at Risk Register in 2017.

HOLT led a campaign last summer to restore the statue, and raised £50,000 with the generous support of Hammersmith & Fulham Council and many individual donors and supporters through a crowdfunder.
Restoration will start on 7 May 2024 with Sally Strachey Conservation and will include reversing and stabilising the corrosion of the iron armature, repairing all cracks and open seams, restoring the concrete surface to its original appearance and improving its setting so it can be better understood and appreciated.

There will be a public launch event once work has completed in July.

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