A behind-the-scenes look at the making of Gillian Wearing's historic statue. #BehindEveryGreatCity
The decision also recognised that the Pankhursts and other high profile Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) leaders are already memorialised both locally and nationally.
A memorial to Emmeline Pankhurst stands to the south west of the Palace of Westminster, at Victoria Tower Gardens. It was unveiled on 6 May 1930.
The unveiling of Gillian's statue forms part of the Mayor of London's year-long #BehindEveryGreatCity campaign.
This campaign was launched to celebrate the role London played in the women’s suffrage campaign, to mark the progress that’s been made on women’s equality over the past 100 years, and to drive gender equality across the capital.
Although the statue formally marks the centenary of women's suffrage in the UK, it also represents the broader movement for women's rights, and seeks to inspire future generations.
With that broader movement in mind, the Mayor and Gillian Wearing worked with feminist campaigners and historians on compiling a list of significant figures to memorialise alongside Millicent Fawcett.
The 59 women and men chosen are named and pictured around all four sides of the statue's plinth.
Etching of the tiles that feature around the statue's plinth.
On February 6 2018, Sadiq Khan launched the Make A Stand exhibition in Trafalgar Square, featuring each of these 59 women and men.
“[Today] marks an important moment in the history of our city - 100 years since the 1918 Representation of the People Act was passed, which gave the first women the right to vote," he said.
"As part of our #BehindEveryGreatCity campaign, I’m really proud to unveil the women and men whose names and portraits will be etched on the plinth of the Millicent Fawcett statue – which will be the first statue of a woman in Parliament Square."
As well as breaking new ground by being both the first female artist and the first memorial to a woman in Parliament Square, the statue is also notable for the innovative techniques used in its creation.
"Because it's quite a traditional spot, I knew that it had to be bronze, but what I'm also doing with the statue is using different processes that haven't been used before in Parliament Square," Gillian explains.
After finding a model with a similar figure to Millicent, Gillian worked with a costume designer to create a walking suit and boots similar to one Millicent Fawcett would have worn.
The model was then scanned wearing the replica of Millicent's outfit, using a process called photogrammetry.
"Millicent's double, Helen, actually works at MDM and has been part of the process of making the sculpture," Gillian explains.
While photogrammetry typically involves 10-12 scans, Gillian's precise attention to detail meant Helen was photographed for the statue 1,400 times.
Part of the complex process for creating the statue's skirt.
"I also wanted to incorporate an actual object of Millicent's. I managed to loan a brooch of hers from the Fawcett Society, which we put on Helen and scanned her wearing it," Gillian says. "I felt it was important to bring something of Millicent's in, to give an authenticity to the sculpture."
Once the scanning is complete, "all the photographs are put together and composited in a computer, in a programme where you can look around it as a 3-dimensional object," she explains.
"I then worked with an operator who was able to bring out details, like the texture of the skirt's material, which adds to the overall look and design of the piece."
The 3D scan is then printed out in resin, in sections, and these are joined together to make the statue, with Gillian making adjustments at each stage of the process to get all the details just right.
Millicent's head is sculpted in clay, and the banner was made in material, with sewn on words, which was cast rather than scanned.
Once Gillian was happy with every aspect of the design, the statue was taken into sections again, to be cast in wax, and then be turned into bronze.
The great suffragist leader Millicent Fawcett now stands near Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela – two other heroic leaders who campaigned for change and equality.
Visitors can find her at the west end of Parliament Square, between Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston (on her right) and Mahatma Gandhi (on her left).