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La Délivrance

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La Délivrance

La Délivrance in 2006

La Délivrance is a 16-foot statue in bronze of a naked woman holding a sword aloft, and is the work of French sculptor Émile Oscar Guillaume (1867–1942).[1] It is located at the southern edge of Finchley at Henly's Corner, at the bottom of Regents Park Road. The statue has a number of local names including "Dirty Gertie", "The Wicked Woman", and (most popular – to the exclusion of its real name) "The Naked Lady".[2]

The statue was created as a celebration of the First Battle of the Marne when the German army was stopped from capturing Paris in August 1914.

History

On Friday, 17 October 1919, the French newspaper Le Matin announced that 11 copies of the statue La délivrance would be offered to 11 great cities of France and Belgium, occupied or destroyed by the Germans: Amiens, Brussels, Colmar, Liège, Lille, Metz, Reims, Mézières, Saint-Quentin, Strasbourg, Verdun.[3] The first of these statues was offered to Lille, greatest of the cities occupied during World War I. It was unveiled there on 19 October 1919 in a central public park, the Jardin Vauban. The nudity of the statue was a cause of trouble and led to withdrawal of the statue in the following years. In 1929, this copy was given to the city of Nantes, where (after further vicissitudes) it stands today.[4][5]

In 1920 Guillaume exhibited the statue at the David Lloyd George (picture). An information panel was placed in front of the statue by the Finchley Society in September 2007.

Other copies

Another but smaller copy of the statue exists in the small French town of Chéroy, Yonne, and some others may be still existing in some of the French cities chosen in 1919.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ See article "Émile Oscar Guillaume" in French WorldHeritage.
  2. ^ Finchley local government website
  3. ^ , "La statue de la Délivrance"Le Matin
  4. ^ Gardens of Nantes (search under "Patrimony")
  5. ^ Nantes purchases "La Délivrance" at auction in 2008 (in French)

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