Urgent plea to save Jewish refugee's famous ‘Leaning Woman’ sculpture

Much controversy surrounded the work, which was described as a 'modern monstrosity' and 'an insult to women'


A famous sculpture created by a Jewish refugee who fled the Nazis is at risk of crumbling without urgent funding.

The Grade II-listed 'Leaning Woman' was created by sculptor Dr Karel Vogel. It consists of a half-nude classical Greek woman doing a sideways limbo movement.

However, the condition of the monument in Hammersmith is deteriorating and a heritage group has launched a fundraiser to fund urgent repairs.

The figure was designed in 1958 and was part of a post-War programme to bring art to Londoners.

It was also designed to have a calming influence on motorists using the nearby A4, the first multiple carriageway road in the UK.

Whilst many locals love the sculpture, others have called it a ‘modern monstrosity’ and 'an insult to women'.

The monument's concrete has now cracked and the iron armature has become exposed and is rusting. 

The Heritage of London Trust is trying to raise £16,400 to fund the urgent repairs which will total £49,400.

Cllr Sharon Holder, cabinet member for public realm at London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham council, who are working with the trust, said: “This is such a worthwhile restoration.

“But we still need help to preserve this Grade ll-listed artwork for future generations to enjoy.”

Vogel fled Prague in 1938 and came to England. He taught sculpting at several schools and colleges including the Camberwell School of Art.

His work featured prominently at the 1951 Festival of Britain and the Royal Academy summer exhibition which was visited by over 8.5 million people. 

Vogel died two years after the 'Leaning Woman' was installed on its brick plinth.

The statue was later put on the Heritage at Risk Register in 2017 and is described as “exceptional” and a “much-loved Hammersmith landmark for over 60 years”.

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive