La Délivrance is a five metre-high bronze statue of a naked woman holding a sword aloft.
La Délivrance was created as a celebration of the First Battle of the Marne, when the German army was stopped before capturing Paris in August 1914. It is the work of French sculptor Émile Oscar Guillaume (1867-1942) and was originally called ’La Victoire’. It depicts a naked female figure standing on tip-toe with both feet on a bronze hemisphere. She lifts her face to the sky and holds both arms aloft, with a sword in her right hand with the title ’Délivrance’ embossed on the hilt.
On 17 October 1919, the French newspaper Le Matin
announced that 11 copies of the statue, renamed ’La Délivrance’, would be offered to 11 cities of France and Belgium, occupied or destroyed by the Germans.
The London version has been displayed at Henly’s Corner
, at the bottom of Regents Park Road
at the southern edge of Finchley in north London since 1927.
In 1920 Guillaume exhibited his statue at the Paris Salon, where it won the Hors Concours
Medal. It was seen there and then bought by Lord Rothermere, who presented the statue to the Urban District of Finchley.
Viscount Rothermere used to travel regularly along Regent’s Park Road on his way to his mother’s home and decided that it would enhance the surroundings of what would later become known as Charter Green.
The statue was unveiled on 20 October 1927 in front of an 8000-strong crowd by the former Prime Minister, David Lloyd George.
The statue has had a number of local nicknames over the years including ’The Wicked Woman’, ’Dirty Gertie’, ’Gangrene Gertie’ (due to corrosion before a 1938 restoration) and most popularly ’The Naked Lady’. Henly’s Corner
is known to a few as The Naked Lady Corner