CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Hampshire Life today CLICK HERE

Jane Austen statue in Basingstoke marking the 200th anniversary of her death

PUBLISHED: 11:33 23 February 2017 | UPDATED: 11:33 23 February 2017

Adam Roud at work on the Jane Austen maquette in his studio

Adam Roud at work on the Jane Austen maquette in his studio

Umbala Photography

Hampshire will mark the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death this year. The starting point is a new statue of the author in her home town, created by sculptor Adam Roud

In October 1800 Jane Austen described visiting the Basingstoke Assembly in the Market Square, “It was a pleasant ball, and still more good than pleasant, for there were nearly sixty people, and sometimes we had seventeen couple. The Portsmouths, Dorchesters, Boltons, Portals, and Clerks were there... I danced nine dances out of ten.”

Almost 200 years after her death Jane, a local girl who became one of the most famous women writers in the world, will return to the Market Square where she danced the night away, this time in glittering bronze.

Maria Miller, MP for Basingstoke, initiated the idea of a sculpture to highlight Jane Austen’s connection with the town and local sculptor Adam Roud, born and bred in Ellisfield near Basingstoke, has been commissioned by the Hampshire Cultural Trust to create the life-sized statue.

Back to the present, dear reader and it’s December when I visit Adam in his dusty, cold studio, a large tractor shed overlooking the idyllic countryside of Farleigh Wallop. It is surprising to learn that famous works such as Antony Gormley’s ‘The Angel of the North’ and several of Damien Hirst’s pieces have been in this very studio, when Adam was commissioned to ‘chase’ them - a process of finishing the bronze with various tools, including welding pieces together, and refining the metal so that it is smooth and in one piece.

Inside there are ghostly white sculptures at different stages of development and in various positions, bulls standing, bulls lying down, bulls turning, as are horses, deer, owls and figure studies. Adam has been commissioned privately to create a bronze bust of a man and he is in the process of sculpting a copy in white marble, hence the sprinkling of marble dust covering much of the studio. He tells me he is a keen cyclist and a member of British Cycling, riding his bike is his relaxation. In a corner there are some large models of Sir Bradley Wiggins, Adam is a great admirer of the first British cyclist to cross the winning line of the Tour de France.

He is equally passionate about creating abstract sculptures, extracting the essence of a pose, which is condensed and gives a sense of movement and shape.

Jane Austen left her writing for posterity but sadly there are no portraits of her, apart from one drawing by her sister, Cassandra. So, Adam has made some large generic drawings of Jane, based on her sister’s portrait, which are pinned up around the studio, they cleverly depict movement and the swirl of her dress.

“It is an opportunity for me to put a twist and curve into her body. It’s an exciting project because of who Jane Austen is and for me as a sculptor, showing what I can do. I’m reading a bit about her as a person, she was a bit unorthodox and maybe missed out on an ideal life. I don’t want her on a plinth, I plan to have her just walking in the street so that we are walking with her, probably holding a book which is a nod to her writings, with her looking over her shoulder at the life she didn’t have” says Adam, who won’t know exactly how it will develop as “there is a constant pull between my hand and mind when I’m working”.

At the moment, the sculpture of Jane is just an armature, a steel frame, with expanded foam sprayed on, so that it can be carved and shaped. Adam will then apply warm plasticine and start sculpting. He prefers to work in plasticine rather than clay, which needs to be kept damp.

Adam has just started work on the maquette, a small version of the bigger sculpture, used to test the concept. There are mathematical calculations to work out, as the final statue will be Jane’s height of 5 foot 7 inches.

Adam is full of enthusiasm for this commission. He says it’s all hands on deck to complete the maquette by January 19 when there will be a launch at Farleigh House, the home of the Portsmouth family, mentioned by Jane in her note and with whom Adam coincidentally also has a connection. In 2000 he rented a studio and workshop on the estate.

Once the maquette has been made Adam has until the end of March to complete the life size bronze statue before it is cast.

At school he was only interested in art and history and out of school he was more interested in his BMX bike. His artistic career began aged 16 at Basingstoke Tech’ where he did life drawing classes and his 2D drawings eventually became 3 dimensional shapes.

He recalls fondly that the tutors there were very keen to tackle ideas and he credits two of his tutors in particular, Steve Towns and Paul Stork for opening his mind, “They were inspirational and I got more schooling there than doing my degree.”

He hadn’t been outside Hampshire before but accepted a place at Liverpool University to study sculpture and was initially homesick for the country where he says he “had lived in an isolated bubble compared to the grit of inner city life.”

After University he worked at the Foundry, Atelier, in Hartley Witney and then at Lasham near Basingstoke as a chaser for Morris Singer, the world’s oldest Fine Art foundry. His father had been a chaser here before him and had met celebrated artists such as Henry Moore, Paolozzi, Elizabeth Frink, Barbara Hepworth and Oscar Nemon. Adam had to get bronzes ready for viewing, “It sounds romantic but the job of a chaser is very disciplined and a daily grind. It’s a very physical and noisy process, metal has to be filed, welded and hammered.” Now that Adam is an artist it is he who sends his works away to a foundry to be chased.

In the tradition of renaissance artists, Adam has some generous patrons. He says: “Meeting Lord Rockley changed my life, I was so lucky to have met him. He asked me to advise him on making a sculpture for his garden. and I made a couple of pieces for him which enabled me to leave the Foundry three and a half years ago and to pursue a career as a full-time artist.” Lady Portsmouth commissioned Adam to sculpt a bronze sculpture. “It’s amazing to have had their support otherwise I would still have been working in the Foundry.”

Adam says: “I’m a traditional artist, I’m not going to be the next Turner Prize winner. I have to pinch myself that my work is in galleries in London and that I’ve been commissioned to do this important public work for my home town.”


Things to see and do in Odiham - Looking for a quiet retreat? Odiham is so near and yet so far from modern life. Emma Caulton takes some time out there and relaxes...


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hampshire visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hampshire staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hampshire account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from People


Right at Home, with offices in Southampton, Winchester, Portsmouth, Farnham and the surrounding areas; offer home care for adults of all ages and the elderly

Read more
Monday, December 3, 2018

What does Christmas mean to you? Not everyone celebrates it of course but for those who do it is often simply a time for festive fun and creating new memories. We asked Craig David, Elizabeth Hurley, Colin Firth, Amanda Holden and more of Hampshire’s stars on what Christmas means to them

Read more
Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Graphic artist Chris Gibson is bringing Hampshire’s landmarks in to people’s homes with his nostalgic posters

Read more
Monday, October 29, 2018

Some of Hampshire’s best known personalities have revealed what they most love about the county. Here, we compile some quotes from our interviews over the years

Read more
Monday, October 8, 2018

Something Wicked this way comes… the hit musical follows the yellow brick road to Southampton this month. Leading ladies Amy Ross and Helen Woolf share tales from behind the emerald curtain

Read more
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Turning 40 kick started a career change for Claire Fuller that took even her by suprise. She talks to Rebecca Fletcher about becoming a best-selling author, and what to expect from her latest novel

Read more
Monday, September 10, 2018

You can take the lady out of Hampshire but you can’t take Hampshire out the lady. Yes, it’s a corny expression but it is true in the case of actress, singer, dancer and TV presenter Amanda Holden, who has never forgotten her roots in the county

Read more
Monday, August 20, 2018

With her bold, graphic designs, New Forest artist Evelyn Bartlett captures the magnificent scenery on her doorstep

Read more
Monday, August 13, 2018

From food and drink to fashion and furnishings, Wickham is home to businesses that are pushing the boundaries. Viv Micklefield meets some of those proud to be different

Read more
Monday, August 13, 2018

A surf club… on the Isle of Wight? Surely not! 50 years on, Faith Eckersall meets those that say their little island is the surfing community’s best kept secret

Read more
Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Tinnitus affects around 10% of the UK population and often goes untreated. Leightons Opticians and Hearing Care told us everything you need to know about tinnitus

Read more
Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Sir Ben Ainslie’s sights are set on bringing home the 36th America’s Cup in 2021 and hoping to join the battle are the sailors currently in his youth squad. Viv Micklefield catches-up with some of the young guns already taking the world by storm

Read more
Tuesday, July 31, 2018

You can’t keep Mary Berry out of the kitchen and the same goes for Hampshire. Bernard Bale hears about her favourite places to visit

Read more
Monday, July 16, 2018

We are a nation of shopkeepers, but is the shop dying? We head to Winchester’s High Street

Read more
A+ South & South West

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search