Writers Statues

Florence – Foscolo

The poet and revolutionary, Ugo Foscolo, (see previous blog) has an impressive monument in Santa Croce. In the same church are the tombs of many other great Italians such as Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, and Rossini.

Ugo Foscolo Memorial Florence


London – St Olave Hart St 2

The 17th century diarist, Samuel Pepys, lived close to St Olave Hart St, and worked at the Royal Naval office which was also nearby. He was such a regular worshiper at the church, that he had a gallery built on the south wall and added a staircase so that he could get from his office to the church without getting rained on. The memorial to Pepys in the church is located where the door to the stairway used to be.

St Olave Samuel Pepys

London – Bloomsbury 8

Virginia Woolf is not the only writer honoured in Tavistock Square in Bloomsbury. There is also a statue of Mahatma Gandhi in the centre of the park.

In 1909, when Gandhi travelled by ship from London to Cape Town, during the 15 day journey, he wrote “Hind Swaraj” – his first book and the book that formulated a plan for Indian independence.



London – Bloomsbury 4

Today is Virginia Woolf’s birthday. Walking around Bloomsbury, during our recent visit to London, we came across many locations associated with her life. Virginia and Leonard Woolf lived at No 52 Tavistock Square from 1924 to 1939 and ran the Hogarth Press from this address. The building was destroyed during World War II but Virginia’s association with this area is remembered with a memorial in the south west corner of Tavistock Square Gardens.



London – Agatha Christie

The most famous of crime writers, Agatha Christie, died 41years ago today. We were pleased to see, on our recent trip to London, that a memorial has been erected to her honour in the West End, not far from the theatre still showing “the Mousetrap”. This play, written by Agatha Christie, is the world’s longest running stage production.

The memorial, which takes the form of a 2.4 metre high book, is on the corner of Cranbourn and Great Newport streets. It contains a lot of detailed information about the author’s life and work, including the titles of some of her most famous books.


Barry Humphries – An Autobiography

Published in 1992 and just now borrowed from a library, Barry Humphries’ biography called “More Please” is not a happy or a funny book. When writing in the persona of Edna Everage he can be more light-hearted. Similarly this inventor of many words and phrases that have become part of Australian slang like “chunder” or “don’t go the raw prawn with me” uses a more serious turn of phrase in this autobiography. Words like opsimath, mephitic and pilose caused us to reach for a dictionary.

Melbourne honoured its famous son, with a somewhat hideous statue of Dame Edna Everage placed in the waterfront development known as Docklands. Barry Humphries has reportedly never liked the statue and was not sorry to see that it has been temporarily put into storage to make way for a new apartment building.

Dame Edna Melbourne

Lachlan Macquarie – Sydney

As you might have guessed from the previous blog entry, we Australians take our early Governors rather seriously. After all, they did help to create the modern Australia. But sometimes we forget that there was a rather amusing side to some aspects of their lives as well.

Enter “Girt: The Unauthorised History of Australia” by David Hunt. This entertainingly irreverent book makes fun of everything from our revered Governors to myths about the poor mistreated convicts who were transported here simply for stealing a loaf of bread. Nothing is too sacred to escape debunking. If this book doesn’t make you laugh about Australian history, nothing will.

Even Governor Lachlan Macquarie, who is revered as a demi-god in Australia, is revealed as an egotist who insisted on having his name attached to as many of Australia’s geographical features as possible and was determined to restore his family fortunes.

There are two statues of Macquarie in Sydney. One stands in front of the Mint and shows him in a seriously reflective mood. The other in Hyde Park, looking along Macquarie Street (below), and makes him look like a gilded superstar in front of his adoring fans. The second one is much more in keeping with Hunt’s witty account of Macquarie.

Lachlan Macquarie Sydney