Denise Dutton MRSS chosen to sculpt Mary Clarke

Denise Dutton, who has been chosen to sculpt Mary Clarke

Mary Clarke was the first suffragette to give her life for women’s right to Vote but, there is no public memorial to her anywhere in the UK. Brighton, where she lived and worked, has few memorials for women and no statues other than of Queen Victoria. 

The Mary Clarke Statue Appeal was set up in late 2018 to fund a statue of Mary Clarke, as a symbol for the city of women’s rights, equality and democracy. The Appeal aims to site the statue in  or very near the Royal Pavilion Estate, where the suffrage movement had strong historic links. The hope is to place it in the garden near the Museum entrance, where it can easily be seen by every school party, resident and visitor. The Appeal needs to raise £60,000.

The Mary Clarke Statue Appeal is pleased to announce that in the past month:

  • Charity status has been achieved
  • Brighton & Hove City Council has granted the £10,000 previously pledged to fund a bronze maquette (model) of the planned statue
  • a sculptor has been chosen, following a short competition for the commission between three excellent sculptors

Denise Dutton MRSS from Leak in Staffordshire has been appointed to make the initial bronze maquette of Mary Clarke and then, provided the funding can be secured, to make the statue. Denise studied sculpture at the prestigious Sir Henry Doulton School of Sculpture in Stoke-on-Trent. She has worked on numerous commissions, both public and private over the past 24 years.

Her works include: the suffragette Annie Kenney, unveiled in December 2018 in Oldham;  the Land Girls and Lumber Jills memorial statue at the National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas which was unveiled in 2014 by The Countess of Wessex; a portrait bust of Sir Neville Mott Nobel prize winner for physics, at the Mott Building, Cambridge; and a life size equestrian statue of the last Maharajah of India, Duleep Singh, unveiled by Prince Charles.

Denise said:

“I will be pleased to work with the trustees of the Mary Clarke Statue appeal and to be a part of realising their mission in bringing the memory of Mary’s life story to others through the statue. The making of a sculpture goes further than a sheer physical task it’s also about the artist’s engagement with the subject. I feel empathy with Mary, for what for she endured through her life and what she fought for. These emotions will be ever present during the realisation of the commission.”

Jean Calder, the Chair of the Appeal said:

“We are delighted that Denise has agreed to take on this commission. She is a fine sculptor with experience of producing inspirational commemorative work. She also has an excellent understanding of the suffrage movement because of the work she did on the sculpture of Annie Kenney.”

“At Mary’s memorial service in Brighton, local suffragette Isabella McKeown said “Her they must not mourn in silence. They must take the torch from her and light the darkness…”. We are asking local people to take up the torch and support this campaign to commemorate Mary and the ideals for which she gave her life – freedom, democracy and equal rights.”

To donate, click the Donate button above. To support the Appeal in other ways contact

Mary Clarke Statue Appeal