Leaning Woman Statue
N Verbena Gardens, Hammersmith, London W6 9AH

Restoration of 1950s statue by Karel Vogel

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 has given a grant of £10,000 towards restoring the statue, and commissioned a condition survey which has been funded by local residents. Restoration will include a cathodic treatment (sending a voltage through the armature which stabilises the internal corrosion), followed by cleaning, addressing staining and making all necessary repairs, as well as consideration of its setting to secure it for the future.