Sculptor dreams up design as plans for DH Lawrence statue in Eastwood move closer to reality

An idea for a statue of DH Lawrence in Eastwood town centre has taken a step closer to reality as a source of funding has been confirmed and a sculptor has drawn up a potential design for the new landmark.

Friday, 16th July 2021, 12:44 pm
Andrew Lilley's DH Lawrence statue design.
Andrew Lilley's DH Lawrence statue design.

A long-standing suggestion to erect a bronze statue to celebrate the author’s heritage has gained even more momentum after Broxtowe Borough Council revealed it has received £25,000 of outside investment to help get the project off the ground.

The council is also applying to the Government for extra cash so it can further capitalise on the famous writer’s connection to the town, with ideas for a DH Lawrence walking tour also being considered.

Sculptor Andrew Lilley dreamed up a possible design for the new feature after resident Gavin Gillespie, who has recently been campaigning for the statue, approached him with the idea.

The space outside Eastwood Library has been identified as a possible home for the new statue.

The draft sketch depicts the famed author relaxing on a bench and is designed to be interactive so passers by can take a photo sitting next to him.

Artist Andrew Lilley said he was excited by the idea of sculpting the literary legend.

He: “I always relish the opportunity to create a naturalistic portrait or statue and as soon as I was contacted by Gavin, I became excited by the idea of sculpting DH Lawrence in a way that the public could interact with.

“I also enjoy working toward the requirements and constraints that are concomitant with public statues and yet telling a compelling story or facet of their life and character."

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DH Lawrence enthusiast Gavin Gillespie said the new design is just an idea at the moment.

He said: “After reading about what Andrew achieved with his latest Irena Sendler statue, I got in touch with him and he said that he would be very happy to design and sculpt the DH Lawrence statue.

"The sketch is based on previous ideas for the statue and it is not definite, but just an example.

"But if the suggestion of a bench, with Lawrence sitting on it, was adopted for the statue, that would provide a lot more photo opportunities.

"It is meant to show Lawrence as if somebody has just asked him if they can take his photo, and he has put the book down while they do so.”

DH Lawrence was born on Victoria Street in Eastwood and grew up in the town before becoming a world-renowned writer. He is most well known for his novels including Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Sons and Lovers and Women in Love.

The sculptor has quoted a cost of around £40,000 for the new statue, which will honour his legacy.

A few possible locations for the statue have been suggested including The Sun Inn, outside Eastwood Library or near the DH Lawrence Birthplace Museum on Victoria Street.

For more information about the statue bid as it unfolds, visit www.gavingillespie.co.uk/dh_lawrence_statue_fund.htm.