25 Jun 2011 – Woman of Words: Katherine Mansfield by Virginia King

This event is a celebration of Virginia King’s commission to construct a new sculpture of Katherine Mansfield in Wellington, New Zealand. Co-organised by the Katherine Mansfield Society and the New Zealand Studies Network (UK and Ireland), it will be hosted by October Gallery in association with Whitespace, Auckland and coincides with King’s exhibition in the group show ‘CURRENT: Contemporary Art from New Zealand and the Pacific’ at October Gallery, and part of this year’s City of London Festival.

The sculpture competition was initiated by the Katherine Mansfield Society shortly after it was founded in November 2008. The aim was to create an arresting and imaginative image of Katherine Mansfield, to be located on a central site in her home town of Wellington. King was among the many local sculptors and artists who submitted work. Her Mansfield, “Woman of Words”, stands out as a towering figure, as befits a national icon, one hand raised as if in supplication, in a gown that swirls into space; most striking are the hundreds of words and phrases that create the figure’s unique texture, homage to Mansfield the writer’s mastery of language. At night the figure will become an illuminated lantern. The Society is supporting fundraising for the statue.

The event will consist of a lecture introducing Mansfield, the woman and her work, by Dr Gerri Kimber, the Society’s Chair. The New Zealand actress Bridget Armstrong will read the quotations from Mansfield’s work in the lecture, and then she will read the well known story set in Wellington, “The Doll’s House”. This will be followed by a address from Virginia King on how she arrived at her artistic impression of Mansfield, and how she proposes to carry out the commission.


Event information

Hosted by the Katherine Mansfield Society and the New Zealand Studies Network

October Gallery Club Room
24 Old Gloucester St., London WC1N 3AL

Saturday 25th June 2011
12.30 pm to 1.30 pm

ENTRY by Donation to Katherine Mansfield Society
Recommended £3.00 per person, more accepted.

12.30pm: ​Introduction by Jo Walsh and Janet Wilson
12.35pm: ​Lecture by Dr Gerri Kimber
13.00pm: ​Reading of “The Doll’s House” by Bridget Armstrong
13.15pm: ​Talk by Virginia King on her sculpture of Katherine Mansfield


Speaker Profiles

Gerri Kimber

Gerri Kimber

Dr Gerri Kimber – Chair, Katherine Mansfield Society

Gerri Kimber is Chair of the Katherine Mansfield Society and Co-Editor of the journal, Katherine Mansfield Studies. She is the author of Katherine Mansfield: The View from France (2008), and A Literary Modernist: Katherine Mansfield and the Art of the Short Story (2008). She is the co-editor of Katherine Mansfield and Literary Modernism (2011) and Celebrating Katherine Mansfield: A Centenary Volume of Essays (2011).

For more information about the Katherine Mansfield Society: or contact

Bridget Armstrong – Actress

New Zealand-born actress Bridget Armstrong took the leading role in the BBC television film “KM and LM: The Trials of Friendship” playing the Katherine figure alongside Ida Baker, Katherine’s companion and friend. In the series “A Picture of Katherine Mansfield” for BBC television she played the lead in the dramatisation of the short story “Man Without a Temperament”. Bridget has also devised and performed her one-woman show about the life of Robin Hyde called “The Flight of the Godwit” to great acclaim all over New Zealand.

Virginia King – Artist
Following a rigorous selection process, a panel led by the Wellington Sculpture Trust has chosen an evocative work by Auckland sculptor Virginia King.

Virginia is a leading New Zealand sculptor with her own international reputation, with public artworks in New Zealand and Australian cities; as well as other international commissions. Her work shows a passion all aspects of natural order and is informed by mythology, history and literature.

Virginia is showing in London as part of the group show ‘Current’: Contemporary Art from New Zealand and the Pacific in the City of London Festival 2011.

Images of Virginia King’s maquette of Katherine Mansfield