Wednesday 1 July 2009 8.00pm
Jan the old one wrote:
Me not being very academic Little Richardjohn, how is a memorial defined?
It should celebrate the work not merely the likeness.
What does a person's appearance have to do with the good they do? Anyone genuinely worth celebrating would not worry whether their face was known for generations to come. They would be happy that the good they did lived after them and the likeness interr'd with their bones. As it were.
Memorial likenesses are mostly for our benefit, to satisfy a trivial curiousity, not a celebration of the memorialised.
We have the photographs, what more faithful likeness do you need? If it's mere accuracy you need, bronze is not an accurate representation of the texture of her skin or hair.
A ward of a hospital is obviously the best memorial for a pioneering nurse, but if a public commission is required, one which celebrates Seacole's compassionate, relaxed, maternal style of care would seem just as appropriate as any metallic likeness. More so, given that it would also be avoiding the same medium and technique and style inevitably used to celebrate warmongers.
Making Mary Seacole look like the Duke of Wellington is surely not appropriate.