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Tuesday, 21 May, 2002, 19:44 GMT 20:44 UK
Iron lady's marble statue is 'marvellous'
Baroness Thatcher and her statue
Baroness Thatcher admires her larger-than-life likeness
Baroness Thatcher broke doctor's orders not to make public speeches as she unveiled an eight-feet-high statue of herself on Tuesday.

Confronted by the larger-than-life sculpture at the Guildhall Art Gallery in London, she said she thought it was marvellous.

And the former prime minister suggested the reason it was so large is because it reflected her achievement in being the first woman premier.

The white marble figure is on display before taking up permanent residence at the House of Commons.


I was fortunate enough to be there a little longer than most of my former colleagues so perhaps that explains its size

Baroness Thatcher

At the unveiling, Baroness Thatcher said: "I'm not bound to say anything but you can't stop a woman, can you?

"It's a little larger than I expected but that's the way to portray an ex-prime minister who was the first woman prime minister - larger than life.

"And I was fortunate enough to be there a little longer than most of my former colleagues so perhaps that explains its size."

The former prime minister - known as the Iron Lady when she was in power - noted with satisfaction that the sculpture had a "good, big handbag".

She said that she had been portrayed "in posterity in a way which pleases me very much indeed".

The statue was carved by sculptor Neil Simmons in white Carrara marble.

Mr Simmons is regarded as one of the UK's finest figurative sculptors.

Sculptor Neil Simmons with the marble Thatcher
A larger-than-life figure

It was commissioned in 1998 by the House of Commons Speaker's Advisory Committee on Works of Art.

Mr Simmons took two years to find the right size piece of Italian marble from which to create the 1.8 tonne statue.

Earlier this year Commons rules were changed so a portrait, statue or bust of a former prime minister could go on display in Westminster's main building while they are still alive.

Under the new rules, the statue can go to Westminster at the next election.


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See also:

06 Feb 02 | UK Politics
01 Feb 02 | UK Politics
21 Jan 02 | UK Politics
26 Jan 02 | UK Politics
24 Dec 01 | UK Politics
13 Dec 01 | UK Politics
03 May 99 | Thatcher Anniversary
26 Apr 99 | Thatcher Anniversary
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