Art critic brands Diana statue 'cleavage on stilts' and 'lacking in her magic'

2 July 2021, 11:34

By Tim Dodd

Art critic Estelle Lovatt has told LBC that her first thoughts about a new statue of Princess Diana were 'cleavage on stilts', saying the piece lacks Diana's 'magic'.

It comes after the Duke of Sussex and the Duke of Cambridge yesterday unveiled a statue in memory of their mother Diana, the Princess of Wales, on what would have been her 60th birthday.

The sculpture by Ian Rank-Broadley was commissioned in 2017 when Princes William and Harry were closer to one another and working together to promote issues such as mental health awareness.

Nick began by asking Ms Lovatt: "When you saw it, either on the newspaper or on the line or on the telly, what went through your mind?"

"Well the first thing I thought of was cleavage on stilts," she replied.

Nick interjected: "Just to reference that - the late Princess of Wales does rather have her blouse perhaps, one might suggest, one button undone too many."

Ms Lovatt replied: "Yeah. It's a very interesting discussion actually, because a statue may be considered a sculpture if it's made from sculpting methods, which of course this is, but a statue is meant to be more realistic than a sculpture and perhaps not have as much free reign.

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"But when you're considering somebody like Diana, who stood for the banning of landmines, who worked for HIV and AIDS, who helped the young and the homeless, who was almost like Mother Teresa to so many different people... And then we look at this Ian Rank-Broadley work... It's bland and it's lifeless and it's soulless, and it doesn't have the magic that Diana had. If you look at Bernini, how he made his sculptures fleshy - this is empty!"

Estelle Lovatt then compared the Diana statue to the plastic dog sculptures seen on UK high streets that are used as money boxes for charity.

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Nick remarked that "on a simple layman's level, it doesn't look like her, it looks like a youthful Theresa May".

Ms Lovatt replied: "Well, I've also heard it said it looks like Virginia Wade... Richard Madeley, Claire Balding, even David Bowie."

The statue was commissioned by the Dukes on the 20th anniversary year of Diana’s death, who said in a statement at the time: "Our mother touched so many lives."We hope the statue will help all those who visit Kensington Palace to reflect on her life and her legacy."