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Hilda Seligman

Hilda Mary Seligman (née McDowell; 18 January 1882 – 20 December 1964)[1] was a British sculptor, author and campaigner from Blackburn, Lancashire. She was married to the metallurgist and chemical engineer Richard Seligman (1878–1972).[2][3] They had four sons: Adrian (1909–2003),[4] Peter, Oliver (who was killed in WWII), and Madron (1918–2002); and a daughter: Audrey Babette Seligman (1907–1990).

During the inter-war period, Seligman entertained Mahatma Gandhi and the Emperor Haile Selassie at her home in Wimbledon, London.[5] She spent some time in India and founded the 'Skippo' Fund in London in 1945. The fund was set up with royalties from her book Skippo of Nonesuch (1943) about a goat named 'Skippo', and donations and gifts from Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence and Isobel Cripps. The Fund paid for a mobile health van that custom built in the UK, and later other health vans to serve isolated villages in India and Pakistan.[6] The Fund's 'Asoka-Akbar Mobile Health Vans' were given to the All India Women's Conference to administer.

Hilda also wrote two other small books: When Peacocks Called (1940), Asoka, Emperor of India (1947). Rabindranath Tagore wrote the foreword to When Peacocks Called.

In 1999, Hilda's papers (Ref: 7HSE) were given as a gift to the Women's Library, London School of Economics, where they are still held.[7]

Sculptures

Cannizaro Park, Wimbledon

Hilda created a bust of Haile Selassie, from life, and it is now displayed in Cannizaro Park. The bust originally stood in the grounds of Lincoln House, where Hilda and Richard lived, until the building was demolished in 1957.[8]

Her bronze sculpture, 'J. P. Blake, Esq.' was displayed at the Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts Eighty-Second Annual Exhibition, 1943.[9][10]

Hilda made and donated a 0.74 meters high bust of Chandragupta Maurya, one of the greatest figures in Indian history and founder of the Maurya Empire, who reigned from 321 B.C. to 296 B.C. for installation in The Indian Parliament complex. It today stands in the courtyard opposite Gate No. 5 of Parliament House, on a red sandstone pedestal, bearing the following inscription "Shepherd boy-Chandragupta Maurya dreaming of India he was to create".[11]

References

  1. ^ "Find A Grave".
  2. ^ "Obituary: Dr Richard Seligman". British Corrosion Journal. 8 (1): 6.
  3. ^ "Grace's Guide to British Industrial History".
  4. ^ "Obituary for Adrian Seligman". Telegraph. 21 August 2003.
  5. ^ "Obituary: Adrian Seligman".
  6. ^ "Rural Community Development Centre".
  7. ^ "Papers of Hilda Seligman, The National Archives".
  8. ^ "Heritage: The African Emperor who found refuge in Wimbledon".
  9. ^ "The Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts".
  10. ^ "Catalogue". The Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts: 41 (386). 1943.
  11. ^ "Rajya Sabha, Parliament of India".

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