Appeals: Old Chiswick Protection Society

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The Independent Online
Graham Heeley modelling a clay figure, one of four small statuettes which will be cast in bronze and placed on the four corners of the tomb of the artist James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834-1903), at Chiswick Old Burial Ground, west London. The Old Chiswick Protection Society, a conservation amenity group founded over 30 year ago, has commissioned the statuettes of four draped female figures to replace the originals which were stolen from the tomb; the casting is partly dependent on the society raising a further pounds 6,000 to finish the project.

The tomb, which is bronze and listed Grade II, is chest shaped, raised on a stone plinth and decorated with Ionic order pilasters supporting bayleaf festoons and flanking corner niches. The statuettes will stand in these at present empty niches.

Whistler and his wife, Beatrix, who died in 1896, were buried together at Chiswick: their grave was marked by trellis covered with roses until nine years after the artist's death, when a monument was proposed. Whistler had never wanted a monument, preferring two roses entwined. The sculptor Edward Godwin - Beatrix's son from her first marriage to EW Godwin, the architect - designed the tomb. Its central panel is inscribed with the following: 'The place where I also . . . at last hope to be hidden, for in no other would I be.' The quotation comes from a letter written on 29 November 1897 from Paris by Whistler to his friend Ethel Whibley after she had visited Chiswick Cemetery: 'Don't let anything tomorrow come between you and the only place I can care for in all that terrible land] The place where I also, such is the wonderful sarcasm of fate, at last hope to be hidden] For in no other would I be.'

For further information about the Old Chiswick Protection Society, contact: The Conservation Secretary, 2 Miller's Court, Chiswick Mall, London W4 2PF, telephone 081-748 0047.

(Photograph omitted)