National Recording Project

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Detail from: Memorial to 158 Squadron by Peter W. Naylor, 2009

Little Eva

Summary

Type Sculpture , Statue

     The figure of a girl aged about ten years or so sits in a decorative arm chair reading the Holy Bible. A finger keeps the page of the closed book whilst she ponders on what she's read. The girl wears a three-quarter length dress with a bow tied at the waist. With the Bible in her left hand, her head is resting gently on her right hand. The pedestal is carved in light relief with foliate motifs.
     The figure was originally believed to be Little Eva from Uncle tom's Cabin. She was purchased from the collection of Sir George Trevelyan of Welcome Manor, Stratford and presented to the Library in 1932 by Mrs Eileen Roper of Lichfield Road, Walsall in memory of her husband, W.H. Roper, a former tradesman. There was some concern in l9ocal newspapers that the statue was not receiving proper care and attention. Mrs Roper then aged 91 years was also concerned that the pedestal was missing from 1963-1965, and that it was being hidden away. The Walsall Observer quotes sources now saying that the figure is identified as Alice in Wonderland.
     This sculpture is believed to be an image of Little Eva, a character from the book Uncle Tom's Cabin, though she could be Little Nell from Charles Dickens' novel The Old Curiosity Shop. Most viewers think she is Alice in Wonderland. Whoever she is, she represents everything that the Victorians held ideal in a girl child. She is exquisitely dressed and sits quietly reading the Holy Bible. The phrase 'Children should be seen and not heard' could well apply to her. She stands as a role model for piety and morality in children. The Bible was regarded as the ideal reading matter for the moral instruction and education of children.

Inscriptions

on back edge of plinth: Loti Scolpi 1870

Contributor details

Contributor Role
Loti, None Sculptor

Element details

Part of work Material Dimensions
Figure Carrera marble 105cm high x 48cm wide x 78cm deep
Pedestal Carrera marble 73cm x 40cm wide x 6cm

PMSA recording information

Reference Region
WMwaWAvh038 BM
General condition Good
Surface condition
  • Corrosion, Deterioration
Structural condition
  • Cracks, splits, breaks, holes
  • Broken, missing parts
Vandalism
  • None
Road None
Precise location New Art Gallery in Walsall
A-Z ref 33 1H
OS ref SP987015
Date of design c.1870
Year of unveiling 1932
Unveiling details Presentation on June 1932
Commissioned by None
Duty of care Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council
Listing status Not listed
At risk? No known risk

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