Site visit to the NMA, October 2022

Kathryn Walker writes…

Good news!

Jeff Beatty, Peter Walker and Kathryn Walker arrive at the NMA

I am writing this exciting progress report as The Pity of War memorial sculpture is nearing completion! The statue has been enlarged from the maquette to its full size and is ready to be cast into bronze for permanent display.

Last week members of the team visited the site at the National Memorial Arboretum where the sculpture is aimed to be installed later next year.

A woman and three men stand in a grass clearing at the edge of woodland by a path. One of the men is explaining something to the others. There are a few young trees behind them. Further back and to the right there are some low white stone pyramidal and rectangular shapes visible.
Kathryn Walker, Andy Ansell, Peter Walker and Jeff Beatty at the favoured site (the memorial to victims of terrorism overseas is in the background)

The visit to the NMA was kindly led by Head of Estates, Andy Ansell.  We departed the visitor centre and headed eastwards following the pathway through the beautiful trees. The vast space has been transformed over the past few years and is now beautifully landscaped for visitors to meander through.  The preferred location is near to the Quaker Service memorial and adjacent to the memorial to victims of terrorism overseas.  This fits beautifully with the message that Pity of War conveys to the viewer about the unknown, nameless and voiceless who are affected by conflict worldwide.  It was noticeable the area chosen was peaceful and tranquil. The site by the path was perfect for the monument to be seen and have its meaning translated to the viewing public as a work of art suitably positioned in the surrounding environment.

A view along a path in at the NMA. There are trees planted parallel to the path on each side and occasional benches between them. There is blue sky with a few wisps of cloud.
One of the main paths at the NMA

Fundraising is going well, though we are still seeking donations. We are nearing the target for completion and aim to have enough support for the cause to allow installation next October. 

Maquettes on display

As for the outreach for the Pity of War project, the maquette of the sculpture has toured around the UK. It has already been seen by thousands at locations such as Portsmouth (Museum of the Royal Navy), several English cathedrals (Chester, Salisbury, Coventry, Oxford, Sheffield, Lichfield, and St Albans), the Hay on Wye Literary Festival, and Friend’s House garden in London. It has also been exhibited in Limburg, Germany.

The Pity of War maquette is now also permanently on display in a number of places both in this country and abroad. These include the British Embassies in Paris and Dubai, and the Basilica of St Mary in Minnesota USA. There is soon to be a Pity of War maquette at the British Embassy in Japan, too. In the UK, they are on display in the cathedrals in Chester, Liverpool, Sheffield, and Winchester, as well as in the University Church, Oxford.


Additionally, The Pity of War project has been busy developing outreach for schools and communities across the country. It has developed a free educational resource pack. this has age-appropriate activities to raise awareness of the physical, psychological, social, educational, economic and cultural effects of war upon the civilian population. This work is ongoing and is aimed at creating a lasting legacy beyond the installation of the statue. It will help the next generation to understand the meaning of the Pity of War. The cause and message the project stands for help shape lessons to be learned for the future in order to aid understanding of how conflict affects people—even as I write this is happeng today. May the Pity of War memorial sculpture stand to represent the voices of those who deal with the impact of war and conflict daily and whose stories are so often untold and unheard.

Kathryn, an anthropologist, is Peter’s wife and business partner, focusing on public engagement.

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