The landmark statue of Anne Bonny and Mary Read was made by British artist Amanda Cotton
BY SOPHIE GRIFFITHS, IMAGE BY DEBBIE BRAGG
Trailblazing pirates Anne Bonny and Mary Read have taken their rightful place in history with a statue that honours their boundary pushing, gender defying lives. Sadly, we know little about Anne (born in Ireland 1697) and Mary (born in England 1685) as their story was largely overlooked by male historians.
As the old sailor’s adage goes, a woman on board invites bad luck, a superstition that turned out to be true for the enemies of these notorious pirates. As quick to draw their cutlasses as they were to fall in love, Anne and Mary sailed the Caribbean leaving a trail of looted treasure, outfoxed law enforcement, and treacherous ex-lovers in their wake.
Previewed this week at Execution Docks in London, a location notorious for its Pirate history, the sculpture will then set sail to its forever home on the shores of Burgh Island, a South Devon tidal retreat frequented by pirates for centuries, where the public will be able to view from early 2021.
The sculpture form was designed by British artist Amanda Cotton and commissioned to mark the launch of Hell Cats, a new Audible Original podcast which celebrates the cutthroat adventure and enduring love affair of these historical and progressive pirates.
Professor Kate Williams, Historian said: “Mary Read and Anne Bonny were two of the most famed pirates in the eighteenth century, yet there is little said about them in our history books. They broke gender boundaries and stunned people at the time. It’s imperative that we continue to unearth the hidden voices, histories of many women and LGBTQ+ persons.”
The Audible series Hell Cats explores their story, themes of equality, freedom, love and survival. Ultimately it is a story about the determination to live fully and freely without the limitation of gender, class or society – a life without restraint.
Cotton made sure that the statue wasn’t about their appearance, but what’s in their heart and their heads. For this reason, Inexorable (the artwork title) is a metaphor of their personalities, Fire & Earth. The artist took into account their personalities, symbolism, passions, significant features and overall bond and was keen to showcase their story at Execution Docks, famous for its history of Pirate visitors, Pirate hangings and history.
Hell Cats, an original podcast drama is available to download now (free for Audible members, free with Audible’s 30-day trial) exclusively here.