Fri
May 3 2013 1:35pm

Providence or Bust: Lovecraft Statue to Be Sited in Author’s Hometown

A crowd-funding appeal to create a life-sized bronze bust of weird fiction writer HP Lovecraft, to be installed in the author’s hometown of Providence, Rhode Island, has hit its target after only two days.

The name of Lovecraft, who died in Providence in 1937 aged 46, has become synonymous with the cosmic horror presented in such tales as The Shadow over Innsmouth, the Colour Out Of Space and, perhaps most famously, The Call of Cthulhu.

Although still a hugely influential figure in the history of genre fiction, Lovecraft has been seen as more problematic in recent years because of his published opinions—especially in his poetry—on race during his lifetime.

But his contribution to the weird fiction landscape endures, and it is for this reason that sculptor Bryan Moore—whose film credits include Nightmare on Elm Street and Gods and Monsters—started the project on the Kickstarter site, which he says “is dedicated to the preservation and celebration of the famous author’s literary legacy”. Moore adds: “Lovecraft’s cosmic imagination has influenced every region of pop culture including video games, comic books, music and film.”

Moore has for the past 11 years run Arkham Studios, which produces high-end collectibles with an occult flavour, earning him the sobruiquet “The Satanic Sculptor.” He describes himself as “an avid Lovecraft fan” and has adapted and filmed Lovecraft’s “Cool Air” as well as sculpting Lovecraftian characters including Abdul al Hazred, Brown Jenkin, C’thulhu, Herbert West: Re-Animator.

Launched on Wednesday May 1st, the Kickstarter project hit its US$30,000 target to fund the bronze bust within days. Now the sculpture will find a permanent home in the 250-year-old Providence Athenaeum Library, presented as “a gift of public work” during the Necronomicon convention, dedicated to Lovecraft’s ouevre, this coming August.

Aside from a short time living in New York during his ill-fated marriage, Lovecraft always haunted the Rhode Island town, and his gravestone there bears the legend, “I am Providence.”

The Providence Athenaeum had a special place in Lovecraft’s heart. He wrote in 1924 to fellow weird fictioneer Frank Belknap Long, “Providence, which spurn’d Eddie living, now reveres him dead, and treasures every memory connected with him. The hotel where he stopt, the churchyard where he wander’d, the house and garden where he courted his inamorata, the Athenaeum where he us’d to dream and ramble thro’ the corridors—all are still with us, and as by a miracle absolutely unchang’d even to the least detail."

Moore was so confident of success that he had “already ordered the clay and started sculpting”. His Kickstarter pitch adds: “There are very tangible costs associated with this kind of work of public art, namely the costs of moulding the original sculpture at the bronze foundry, the lost wax casting, molten bronze casting, finishing the patina, securing the support pedestal for display and the memorial bronze plaque that will be affixed to the front of the display. Other costs include crating and shipping the very formidable pieces from point of origin to the Providence Athenaeum Library, not to mention the installation of the work.”

As with most Kickstarter projects, varying pledge amounts trigger different rewards for those who have funded the scheme, from a limited edition postcard for a pledge of $10 to a T-shirt for those who promise $50, all the way up to a $5,000 package which includes a life-sized polymer replica of the bust.

Lovecraft, of course, isn’t the only genre author to be honoured with a statuary project. There is currently a fundraising drive on to create a statue of Gary Gygax, the “father of role-playing” who co-created the seminal Dungeons & Dragons RPG who died in 2008, in his hometown of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.

And in Woking—the site of the Martian invasion in HG Wells’ War of the Worlds—there has been since 1998 a striking sculpture of one of the tripods which Wells envisaged laying waste to England in his novel published a century before.

But which other authors in science fiction, fantasy and horror do you think deserve lasting monuments to their greatness? And where should they be sited?


David Barnett is an author and journalist based in the north of England. His novel Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl, the first in a steampunk/alternate history/Victoriana series, is published in September 2013 by Tor Books. He does not have a statue in his honour. Yet.

13 comments
Peter Stone
1. Peter1742
We need another one of them tripod things in Grover's Mill, NJ.
snortle
2. snortle
Why do people care so darn much about Lovecraft's racism and so darn little about others, like Woodrow Wilson or Jack London? Both of them beat Lovecraft coming and going when it comes to racism. And Wilson actually had, and used, the power to harm significant numbers of blacks.
snortle
3. BDG91
@snortle

I think you're missing the point, people care about Lovecraft's racism because he was racist. There is no 'beating' (as in a race?) when it comes to racism. Those same people most likely care that Wilson was a racist but he isn't as prominent in popular culture as Lovecraft so hence more people complain about his racist behaviour.
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4. AgingComputer
Is it not possible to both acknowledge a man's genius and admit that he had serious faults? Most of the "great" men of history had such flaws. HP's racism should be acknowledged, because it is entangled with his body of work in inseparable ways. But it shouldn't become the focal point of conversation about him.
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5. Zadok Allen
I'm confused. Where's the tentacles? (OMIGAWD, he's shaved! :) And how can you display his essential bachtrian nature? His congeries of consciousness?

I don't see that in the proposed sculpture, no, not at all.
Colin Bell
6. SchuylerH
Well, unlike the World Fantasy Award, it isn't hideous.
Chris Palmer
7. cmpalmer
I think it ought to be designed so that viewed one way, it's HPL, but from the other angle, it's Cthulu.
snortle
8. Sirendipity
Moore is a VERY well-known rip off aritst, famous for taking money for statues, b.s-ing people until they can't get their money back through pay-pal, and then ignoring them completely.

So if you contributed anything to this GOOD LUCK getting your Kickstarter perks, and I'll be completely shocked and amazed if the bust happens. Or, if it does, trust me, it will cost significantly less to produce than he will say it does.

I feel bad for those who this guy is STILL ripping off, but really, do a google search. Seriously, go, I'll wait.
snortle
9. IwasburnedbyArkham
This clown got to pocket the additional money that was raised totalling over 20 thousand dollars. Meanwhile people like me keep waiting to be reimbursed for things we ordered over a year ago. Arkham is now at 621 So. Main St. Sac City Iowa 50583 USA for others who been ripped off.
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10. IwasburnedbyArkham
(712) 661-9759 (712) 662-8064
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11. IwasburnedbyArkham
On another site he is making an announcement soon and I saw where it says a Poe bust might be in the works but he hasn't honored the Sept. post on Kick Starter about having rewards sent out in October? Wasn't his project funded last May?Kick Starter needs to look into shady people like the Rev. Bryan Moore from the Church of Satan.
snortle
12. Jimmy Mac
This guy is a notorious con! Kickstarter was warned, with proof and did NOTHING! Now a large portion of the people who donated still have not seen their rewards and it's likely that they never will. Moore raked in nearly 60k for the project and promised to make a generous donation to a children's literacy program after all was said and done. Guess how much that "generous" donation was? A WHOPPING ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS. This guy is a JOKE. He has been fleecing people for years. A shady two faced huckster who has no qualms about taking your money and running.
snortle
13. John K.
Be warned a kickstarter for a Poe bust is happening.I guess he spent all the extra dough. I hope people won't be duped this time around.
30k is alot of money so unless you want him making that much again do not support it.

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