Sunday 5 November 2023

Virginia Wade is the naked girl in the statue 'Girl with a Dolphin' at Tower Bridge

There is a famous statue near Tower Bridge in London by David Wynne. I know it well but a lot of people might not because it's below the eye line as you cross world's most famous bridge. Every day, 40,000 people cross this bridge but very few realise that the nude woman emotionally connecting with the Dolphin in this beautiful statue is Virginia Wade, the Wimbledon tennis champion in 1977 and the former US and Australian open champion.

Virginia Wade is the naked girl with a dolphin at Tower Bridge
Girl with a Dolphin at Tower Bridge. The model for the girl was Viginia Wade. Image in public domain.

[Note: this is not about cats but about our relationship with animals or how it might be in a better world.]

Virginia Wade is one of Britain's most celebrated and well-known tennis players. The statue is called: Girl with a Dolphin. It was unveiled 50 years ago. At the time the model's identity was not disclosed.

In fact, the model for the girl in the statue was never mentioned. It was kept secret. And that's why, today, when The Sunday Times revealed that it is Virginia Wade, it was a great surprise to me.

The following points should be made about this statue:
  • Virginia Wade genuinely posed nude for it. She said that she wasn't unhappy to do it. And that the whole session was very professional. It didn't matter to her that she had to was naked.
  • For reasons of discretion, in the statue, the face is not that of Virginia Wade. It was probably to disguise the fact that it was Virginia Wade until now!
  • That secret was kept for half a century but now, Virginia Wade, 78, sees no reason to keep the secret any more.
  • She remembers how interesting the sculptor, David Wynne was. During the modelling sessions she talked a lot to him about personal relationships and what was going on in the world. Wynne was interested in the spiritual world and meditation. He actually introduced his friends the Beatles to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
  • Wade occasionally drives past Girl with a Dolphin and smiles. She said: "I'm very proud of that. Much more proud of it than I ever was of my own personal sculptures, though they are very nice. The ones of me, they're just me. But to Girl with a Dolphin is just so gorgeous. It gives me a warm feeling that I was involved."
  • David Wynne also met with Annabel Croft another high-ranking tennis player now retired. She has just spent a session on the British television BBC programme Strictly Come Dancing. They both liked David Wynne very much. He died in 2014 aged 88.
  • Thomas W Hodgkinson, the author of The Sunday Times article on this statue, very elegantly describes how the statue create an image of equality between animal and human.
  • David Wynne's son said: "The woman swims down and the dolphin swims up and for a fleeting moment they meet within a vortex, and have a mind-to-mind connection, as you do sometimes when you meet a wild animal."
  • Hodgkinson writes: "So next time you are near Tower Bridge, take 20 minutes to pay it a visit. You can gaze upon Britain's last female Wimbledon winner. But, more importantly, you can admire Wynne's finest portrait of a human and animal meeting as equals. The result is an expression of pure joy."
P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

RELATED: Punishing animal abusers: Inequality between dogs and cats. An article about inequality.

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