Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Heroic Self Sacrifice

Memorial to Heroic Self Sacrifice, Postman's Park, City of London, London
Memorial to Heroic Self Sacrifice
Postman's Park, City of London
London, September 2016

“The painter and sculptor George Frederic Watts and his second wife Mary Fraser Tytler had long been advocates of the idea of art as a force for social change. Watts had painted a series of portraits of those figures he considered to be a positive social influence, the ‘Hall of Fame’, which was donated to the National Portrait Gallery. As the son of a piano maker, who reportedly despised the wealthy and powerful and twice refused a baronetcy, Watts had long considered a national monument to the bravery of ordinary people. In August 1866, he suggested to his patron Charles Rickards that he "erect a great statue to Unknown Worth", and proposed erecting a colossal bronze figure. Unable to secure funds, the memorial remained unrealised. On 5 September 1887, a letter was published in The Times from Watts, proposing a scheme to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria. Entitled ‘Another Jubilee Suggestion’, Watts proposed to ‘collect a complete record of the stories of heroism in every-day life’. Watts cited the case of Alice Ayres, a servant who, trapped in a burning house, gave up the chance to jump to safety, instead first throwing a mattress out of the window to cushion the fall, before running back into the house three times to fetch her employer's children and throwing them out of a window onto the mattress to safety before herself being overcome by fumes and falling out of the window to her death.” (The Memorial to Heroic Self Sacrifice, Wikipedia)

External links: List of tablets on the Memorial to Heroic Self Sacrifice

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