29 August 2012

Limitation of Statues

by Robert Lopresti

I don't know if you have seen this picture of the statue Boston is planning to erect near the birthplace of Edgar Allan Poe.  It appears to show the founder of our field going for a stroll with his giant pet raven.

People have disagreed on the quality of this work.  I won't say more than this: it will never be my favorite statue of a bird in Boston.

But it got me wondering which other mystery authors have statues in their honor.  Frankly, I was surprised at how few I was able to locate.  But take a look:

This is Arthur Conan Doyle in Crowborough, England.  It's surprisingly recent, having been created by David Cornell in 2000.
 
And here is Dorothy L. Sayers standing opposite her home in Witham.  I like the cat, don't you?

This bust of Agatha Christie stands in her birthplace of Torquay (which I will forever remember as the location of Fawlty Towers).

Here is Georges Simenon as seen in Liege in Belgium.



And below you will find the creator of Father Brown standing proudly in Chesterton Square.  Can you guess what city this piece by David Wanner can be found in?  Would you believe New Orleans?

And now that we have made it to the United States I would like to show you some photos of sculptures of American mystery authors.  Unfortunately I can't because a search of the web turned up no statues or even busts of Hammett, Chandler, Gardner, or Stout.  What likely candidates am I missing?

I suppose creating sculptures of authors may be more of a European thing than an American, but frankly I was expecting to find at least a bust or two created by schools that had been honored with the archives of one or another author.  If anyone knows of some, let me know.

Meanwhile I have a pedestal just my size if anyone is feeling inspired.  And let me close with what has to be the most coveted sculpture of any mystery writer...


8 comments:

Herschel Cozine said...

It seems you have to be a Major League baseball player to get a statue in this country. And none of the names you mention could hit a curve ball.

How about Sandburg? I realize he isn't a mystery writer, but it would be a start.

Anonymous said...

He's not a mystery writer, but if you google "Mark Twain statue" several come up, in various cities.

Velma said...

This angle looks more interesting, but I doubt EAP's mother would recognize the face.

Leigh Lundin said...

The sculptures of Rodin are incredibly powerful, those of Victor Hugo and Honoré de Balzac, the latter which the commssion refused after Rodin spent 7 years on it. After a public backlash, it was finally cast and erected nearly 40 years after it was commissioned and well after Rodin's death. Even Balzac nude studies were powerful, so much so that one was stolen last year from an Isreali museum.

Janice said...

Edinburg also honors Sherlock's creator with a sculpture

Robert Lopresti said...

Yes, the face isn't much like I think of Poe. (By the way, you can find two other proposed Poe statues that this one beat,,,, deservedly so, I think).

Rodin is one of my favorite artists. Someday I have to get to the Rodin museum down by the Columbia River, but we aren't big travelers. Alas, he never got around to doing Hammett.

Jeff Baker said...

Just heard something today about Larry Bird getting a statue. Maybe we could get him to write a few mysteries!

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