Bushey War Memorial, by William Reid Dick

The Bushey WW1 Memorial.

Out on the Metropolitan line, at the end of one of the branches is Watford, in Hertfordshire, and in Bushey, a former village close by, is a World War 1 Memorial of some size, with sculpture by William Reid Dick.

The memorial consists of shaped blocks forming a stepped obelisk of Portland Stone, some 13 ft high, in front of which stands a mourning female figure. There is no ornament on the obelisk at all, which in the spirit of the times, was thought a benefit: ‘The figure itself contrasts well with its background, is well modelled and in every way attractive. It seems to receive just the value required [in the unormanted background] to make itself the centre of interest.’

Detail showing the head and hand.

The over-lifesize figure, about 8ft high, stands head bowed, resting her chin on her hand, the elegant shape of which is a feature of the monument. Her other hand, in front of her, holds a wreath. She wears a simple shift, hanging straight down at the front, then to the side so as to expose her feet, and drape over the side of the base; drop folds to left and right provide a frame. Overall, the figure has a simple elegance and dignity.

Reid Dick, the sculptor, was himself one of the first sculptors to enlist in WW1, joining the Royal Army Medical Corps. He made several figures with similar compositions to the Bushey memorial, essentially vertical with a minimum of folds in the drapery, to enhance the height of the sombre, female figures. The girl below left, also a memorial figure, is typical of his work in this vein; another one, highly symmetrical, is Reid Dick’s statue of a girl on Adelaide House, by London Bridge, below right. Note again the use of folds to left and right to frame the figure.

Vertical compositions by William Reid Dick.

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