Right of Reply: Jeremy Isaacs
A campaigner for a monument to Oscar Wilde replies to Tom Lubbock's criticism of the new sculpture
Thursday 03 December 1998
The committee of helpers who gathered round me first thought, after debate, that the statue should not be a plain exact likeness, but something, informed by the imagination, which would have amused Oscar himself. Too much sculpture in London stands on forbidding pedestals above the pedestrian. All we really see at street level is the name on the plinth. Maggi's proposal, we realised gratefully, would be friendlier than that, something to smile at, an encounter to remember.
Plenty of folk will have their picture taken talking to Oscar, as they do with the Lifeguards in Whitehall, or the lions in Trafalgar Square. We shall have added a little to the gaiety of London's streetscape. Brian, who keeps a stall selling summer ice-cream and winter roasted chestnuts at the bottom of the street, tells me people love it, and expects trade to boom. At least it is different, and it is just the unexpected that keeps cities alive.
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