Sculptures of four trailblazing women, the first females to feature in Trinity College’s Old Library, have been unveiled to mark St Brigid’s Day.
The women represented are scientist Rosalind Franklin; folklorist, dramatist and theatre-founder Augusta Gregory; mathematician Ada Lovelace; and the pioneering women’s rights advocate Mary Wollstonecraft.
“Sculptures are an iconic feature of Trinity’s Long Room, and I hope that the inclusion of these four outstanding women is the furthering of a collective recognition of the incredible contribution of women across many fields,” said Provost Linda Doyle.
The new sculptures, the first to be commissioned in more than a century, will be displayed among the 40 marble busts that line Trinity’s historic Long Room. These sculptures previously only featured men.
The artworks represent men throughout history, from Homer and Shakespeare to Dean Jonathan Swift, Sir Rowan Hamilton and Wolfe Tone. Ms Doyle described how essential it is to see change at last.
“While it is important to respect tradition, it is also important to break tradition. The addition of these sculptures of women has been a long time coming,” she said.
“I want to thank everyone involved in the creation and installation of these beautiful pieces.”
The new sculptures were launched by Trinity’s Chancellor, Dr Mary McAleese, at a ceremony in the Long Room.
Their addition represents a first step towards a better representation of diversity in Trinity’s public spaces.
The sculptures are the work of four accomplished artists: Maudie Brady (Ada Lovelace); Rowan Gillespie (Mary Wollstonecraft); Vera Klute (Rosalind Franklin) and Guy Reid (Augusta Gregory).
Librarian Helen Shenton said: “On this auspicious day, St Brigid’s Day, we celebrate women’s scholarship with these sculptures in the Long Room of the Old Library.
“Their individual contributions to knowledge and to society will now be permanently honoured in this cathedral of learning at the heart of Trinity.”
The four women being honoured were chosen from more than 500 nominations by students, staff, and alumni.
After an extensive international shortlisting process, nine artists were invited and supported to submit models of two of the nominated women, from which the four artists were chosen.
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