Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Leaping lady figure given new hairstyle by vandals

THE 7ft high “leaping lady” sculpture on an entrance roundabout in Henley appears to have been vandalised.

THE 7ft high “leaping lady” sculpture on an entrance roundabout in Henley appears to have been vandalised.

When the £7,000 figure was installed a year ago her bright red hair was pointing upwards but it now goes in the opposite direction and the metal strands have been meshed together.

Town councillor Kellie Hinton, who chaired the Henley in Bloom committee at the time of the unveiling, believes this is the work of vandals.

“I came round the roundabout the other day and noticed something was wrong with her hair,” she said.

“I assume that someone who may have been drunk or children did it.

“The wires are very thin and you can bend them very easily. I think it looked better the other way.” The sculpture, which was designed by artist Rachel Ducker, depicts a woman appearing to be leaping out of water, represented by grass plants.

It is the centrepiece of the roundabout in Reading Road by the entrance to Tesco and is meant to represent Henley as a gateway to a healthy lifestyle.

The woman’s body is made of galvanised, annealed steel and her hair is enamelled aluminium. The metal will change colour as it ages.

Councillor Hinton said she was disappointed as the figure was a bespoke artwork that cost a lot of money.

She said: “We always hope that people are respectful but sometimes people have their own interpretation of what something should be.

“Rather than acting in their head, they acted upon it.”

She hoped the hair would be put back the way it was but wasn’t sure whether this was something the town council’s parks staff could do or whether the artist will need to do it herself.

Miss Ducker said: “The hair was supposed to be like it was — it was supposed to show the energy in her movement.

“If someone has plaited it then I am a bit worried.

“I can’t imagine why anyone would have done that or how they could have done it without being seen. I don’t want it to be seen like that.”

Miss Ducker said she was willing to return the hair back to the way it was.

The figure was the final piece of a design created by landscape designer Paul Terroni to win a competition run by Henley in Bloom.

The roundabout, which is sponsored by Higgs Group, publisher of the Henley Standard, also features five flower beds made from interlocking rings.

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