An artist has been chosen to create a £10,000 artwork celebrating Liverpool political figure Eleanor Rathbone.
Liverpool City Council is said to have received a ‘great deal of interest’ in the commission but Lulu Quinn has been picked to use corten steel sheets to work on a piece for the walled garden of Greenbank Park, formerly the estate of the Rathbone family.
Set to contribute to the national ‘Rembering Eleanor Rathbone’ campaign marking the 70th anniversary of the former MP’s death, the artwork will focus on quotations from Eleanor’s writings about women’s suffrage, the family allowance bill and campaigns for the rights of refugees.
Lulu Quinn has extensive experience of working on public artworks throughout the country and says: “I wanted to use Eleanor Rathbone’s words to animate the garden. In the current political climate her words are the voice of reason and rationality. They will not date and are part of an ongoing dialogue for generations.”
Greenbank councillor Laura Robertson-Collins, adds: “We were delighted to be able to appoint an artist with a national reputation such as Lulu Quinn for this artwork.
“Eleanor Rathbone was an inspirational figure and now her words are going to be a permanent feature in Greenbank Park.”
Eleanor Rathbone (1872-46) grew up in Greenbank House, now part of the University of Liverpool estate, into a family with a tradition of political and social campaigning in the city as her father and grandfather were Liberal MPs.
She attended Oxford University but, as a woman, was not allowed to graduate, and then went on to be the first elected woman in the city council and represented Granby from 1909 to 1934.
In 1929 Eleanor was elected as an independent MP for the Combined Universities seat, a position she held until her death.
The political figure was associated with campaigns for women’s rights, education and social justice as well as issues including child marriage in the colonies before working to save Jewish and other refugees in Europe.
Despite the opposition of many male MPs, she was also responsible for the introduction of family allowances (now child benefit) to be paid directly to mothers.
The artwork will be funded through a number of sources including public subscription.