Date announced for unveiling of Ottery's Coleridge statue

Maquette of statue of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, by sculptor Nicholas Dimbleby

The maquette, or scale model, of Nicholas Dimbleby's statue of Samuel Taylor Coleridge. - Credit: Chris Wakefield

Ottery’s memorial statue to Samuel Taylor Coleridge will be unveiled in almost exactly a year’s time, on October 21, 2022. 

The date of the unveiling will be 250th anniversary of the poet’s birth in the town. 

The Coleridge Memorial Trust have announced the landmark date this week and released photos that give the clearest representation so far of how the finished statue will look. 

Sculptor Nicholas Dimbleby has completed a new maquette, a scale model of the statue, showing Coleridge in mid-stride, carrying a walking stick and a notebook for his writing.  

He has also finished making the statue’s almost life-sized head and face, capturing the appearance of the existing images of the poet as a young man. 

Plans are under way for the celebrations on the day of the unveiling. The guest speaker will be a poet, Anglican priest and author of the book ‘Mariner - A voyage with Samuel Taylor Coleridge’, published in 2017. Further guests and speakers will be announced as the preparations are finalised. 

The face and head of Nicholas Dimbleby's statue of the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge

The face and head of Nicholas Dimbleby's Coleridge statue, almost life size - Credit: Chris Wakefield

Most of the money for the statue and its placing at St Mary’s Church has been acquired through personal donations, with fundraising beginning in 2018 and a successful Crowdfunding campaign in 2020. In September 2020 an additional grant of £5,160 was received from East Devon District Council through funding scheme for community projects. 

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The Coleridge Memorial Trust has welcomed the statement by the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Oliver Dowden, who said: “Culture is a catalyst for attracting investment and new and returning tourists, bringing people together, and defining and reaffirming a sense of place and local pride.” 

A spokesperson for the Trust said: “Ottery St Mary can and should be proud of the literary heritage and cultural significance of their famous son.  

“Coleridge is a world-renowned poet and philosopher, regarded by many as one of the greatest of the Romantic poets.  

“His presence in statue form will complement the existing local celebrations of his life and work – for example the Poetry Stones at the Land of Canaan – including other historical and cultural people and events related to Ottery St Mary presented at the Heritage Museum by the Ottery Heritage Society.  

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