I went to the Lady Lever Art Gallery last weekend where there is this fabulously erotic statue of Salammbo by the sculptor Maurice Ferrary.  The Lady Lever Art Gallery is in Port Sunlight on the Wirral and was built by and contains art work collected by Lord Lever, who made a fortune from, well, soap basically!

The character of Salammbo is from Flaubert’s historical novel, which tells how during the war between the Cathaginians and the barbarians in the 3rd century BC.  Salammbo, the daughter of the Carthaginian leader, entwined herself with a huge snake, the symbol of her country.  With this sacred protection she went out to the barbarian camp and retrieved a famous veil, the loss of which had caused defeat for the Carthagenians.

It’s a fabulously sensous and erotic statue.  It’s placed in what was the original atrium at the entrance of the gallery.  But, the funniest thing about it is that when Lord Lever built the gallery – for the edification and moral uplift of all his workers – when they all piled out of the soap factory to the gallery this was the first thing they saw.  I rather like that idea.

 

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