FOUR statues of one of Portsmouth’s most famous sons have gone on display at the city’s Central Library.
And in just over a year’s time, one of these models will be cast in bronze, to stand in Guildhall Square, as part of the city’s celebrations of Charles Dickens’ life.
The 7ft statue will be the UK’s first of the author.
Two artists, Les Johnson and Martin Jennings, whose work includes the statue of John Betjeman at London’s St Pancras station, have designed the models.
Now members of the public are invited to comment on them.
Professor Tony Pointon, of the Dickens Fellowship, explained: ‘It will be in Guildhall Square because it will attract people from around the world.’
The statue will cost £140,000, with just under £100,000 still to be raised, by donations and company sponsorship.
The designs have been chosen from a long list.
Prof Pointon said: ‘These are the ones we wanted because they show him as an approachable, lively person.’
Ian Dickens, the author’s great-great-grandson, said: ‘It will be completed to celebrate the 200th anniversary of his birth.
‘That is on February 7, but we hope the statue will be in place on August 13.’
He added: ‘He was a person who loved to talk to and interact with people.
‘These statues all show him as a man who loved to be with people.’
The designs will be on display at the library for three weeks, and comments are invited from the public.
The final decision will be made later this year by the Charles Dickens Statue Fund.
This is made up of representatives from the council, Dickens Fellowship and Dickens Foundation.
They say they will take the public’s views into account before deciding which statue to choose.
To have your say, visit the library and write a comment on the postcards provided.