19th Nov, 2017

Marie Corelli statue is back on its feet

A FALLEN angel will soon be back on its feet following lengthy restoration work.

The Marie Corelli memorial in Evesham Road Cemetery – dedicated to the best-selling Victorian novelist, who spent most of her later life in Stratford – was badly damaged at the hands of vandals in 2012.

The statue of an angel with outstretched arms was knocked off its plinth and suffered a broken wing and two broken arms.

The project to restore the statue was led by Nick Birch from Avon Boating, who also runs a website specially dedicated to Marie Corelli’s life. The total cost for the work was £3,500.

Funding for the restoration came from Stratford Town Trust and Avon Boating, who own the author’s original gondola.

Work was completed by students at the City and Guild School of Art in London, who restored the statue as part of their final year project.

The statue will returned to its original spot by local masons Clifford and Sons today (Wednesday July 7).

Corelli wrote more than 25 books and outsold works by contemporary authors including now legendary names such as Arthur Conan Doyle, H. G. Wells, and Rudyard Kipling.

She was an active member of Stratford’s community and fought to protect Shakespeare’s legacy and preservation of many of the town’s 17th century buildings.

A well-known local eccentric, she could often be spotted cruising the Avon in her gondola, complete with her private Venetian gondolier.

Despite her literary success, not everyone was a fan. The Spectator’s Grant Allen described her as ‘a woman of deplorable talent who imagined that she was a genius’.

Her former home, Mason Croft in Stratford’s Old Town, is now occupied by the Shakespeare Institute, which is part of the University of Birmingham.

A collection of her original manuscripts and photographs can be found in the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust archives.

Visit mariecorelli.org.uk for further details.

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