The Countess of Wessex sat for a sculptor on Wednesday while the process was streamed online in a bid to raise awareness for the blind and partially sighted.
Sitting for Frances Segelman, Sophie adhered to social distancing guidelines to pose for the sculpture. The process was livestreamed on the internet from Segelman’s London studio. The event was broadcast for the Vision Foundation, of which Sophie is patron, and was available for its supporters to watch.
Speaking after the sitting, Sophie said, “’For the blind and partially sighted amongst us, these past months have been especially challenging.
“However, through the care that the Vision Foundation has extended to those in difficulty, I am hopeful that the people we care for will feel empowered within their communities.”
She continued, “This sculpture, and the faces of many others, will allow the blind and partially sighted to see through touch and so to more vividly imagine their world.
“Whether you are a long-time supporter or friend of the Vision Foundation, or you are new to us, thank you for your vital support, and I would encourage you all to speak to the Foundation team to find out more about our work and explore how you can play a part in bringing the world to within closer reach for those who struggle to see it.”
The Vision Foundation’s Chief Executive praised Sophie’s work on behalf of the organisation.
“The Countess of Wessex has been the Vision Foundation’s patron for more than 17 years and we’ve been overwhelmed by her dedication to ensuring blind and partially sighted people have the same opportunities as anyone else in our capital,” said Olivia Curno in a statement on its official website.
“The coronavirus crisis has set back the independence of blind and partially sighted people by decades – it’s hard to social distance when you can’t see; hard to be guided across roads and through stations when people are nervous to touch you; employment prospects are even more bleak. Being able to share the experiences of visually impaired people helps to increase public understanding and ensure London becomes open for all.”
Other guests during Wednesday’s livestream included Curno, who co-hosted with Sue Saville, ITV New’s former medical correspondent, Dr. Amit Patel, and Lucy Edwards, a BBC Radio 1 presenter.
Sophie’s bust will be cast in bronze and formally unveiled in 2021 when Vision Foundation marks its centenary year.