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Henry Morton Stanley statue to go on show

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BBC Wales History BBC Wales History | 14:20 UK time, Thursday, 13 January 2011

In just over six weeks' time, a life-size bronze sculpture of Welsh explorer Henry Morton Stanley will be erected in front of the Denbigh Library Museum and Gallery.

Stanley, who was born in Denbigh in 1841, became famous for trekking through African jungle to find Scottish explorer Dr David Livingstone, and greeting the Scot with the famous words "Dr Livingstone, I presume?"

Henry Morton Stanley statue

The life-size statue will be on display in six weeks' time.

The commissioning of the Henry Morton Stanley statue has proved controversial. Last year, 50 eminent people, including travel writer Jan Morris and poet Benjamin Zephaniah, signed a letter of protest against the statue, claiming Morton's expeditions contributed to the "racist" ideas of the day.

Statue of Henry Morton Stanley

The statue captures the moment Morton stretches out his hand to greet Dr Livingstone.

Speaking to Wales Online, sculptor Nick Elphick said: "It's at the point where he meets Livingstone and I wanted the whole interaction."

Elphick resisted elevating the figures of Stanley on a plinth to emphasise his humanity. "I wanted him down on the same level as everyone else," he said. "Instead of putting these people up on plinths I wanted to show that we're all part of humanity and can strive to achieve whatever we chose to."

Llandudno-based sculptor Nick Elphick has created the statue.

Speaking on the controversy surrounding the statue, Elphick said: "I think it's wrong to judge people by our own understanding today because they were brought up very differently."

Read Phil Carradice's blog on Henry Morton Stanley.

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