Sir Ken Dodd would have been tickled with delight at this new reincarnation of himself reflecting his serious and contemplative side.
The star, famed for his legendary long stand-up shows and his tickling stick, died earlier this year at the age 90 in the city of Liverpool where he spent all his life.
Lady Anne Dodd, his partner of 40 years who he married two days before his death, will officially unveil the life-size bronze bust of him on Thursday evening at one of his favourite Liverpool locations – the Central Library’s Picton Reading Room.
For most of his life, Sir Ken was a regular visitor to the library, spending hours reading and researching the history of comedy.
Lady Dodd was approached by portrait sculptor Jane Robbins, who wanted to create an image of Sir Ken which captured a contemplative side to him, showcasing a different image to his comedy, showbiz persona.
Impressed with the design, Lady Dodd commissioned Robbins to produce the work which is based on a favourite photograph by Stephen Shakeshaft, former picture editor and chief photographer of the Liverpool Daily Post and Echo.
Upon seeing the bust of her late husband, Lady Dodd told HuffPost UK: “I’m so happy. I’m touched. I’m moved.
“And I’m not in the least bit sad as it is such a lovely tribute to Ken.
“Jane has created the bust based on photos I gave her and I’m thrilled with the three-dimensional results.
“The profile view took my breath away a bit as it was so accurate. It’s pensive, but it’s really him and I think this thoughtful piece is perfect for a library.”
Capturing Doddy’s thoughtful side, the bust will be on permanent loan to the City of Liverpool.
The bust will be mounted onto Portland Stone, which is used in many of the historic buildings found in the city.
Robbins comes from a showbiz family – including comedian brother Ted Robbins, who was in Phoenix Nights.
She said: “It has been a real honour for me to produce this portrait. I came from a showbiz background and we lived and breathed Ken’s humour.
“For years I have wanted to create a sculpture of him, so people can remember him for the well-read and intelligent person he was and it feels so right that it will be on display somewhere that meant so much to him.
“I feel incredibly passionate about the piece of work and hope that I have done justice to the ‘real Ken’.
“I wanted to capture the essence of Ken and show the really intelligent man behind the daft persona and the funny faces.
“I think he was a very handsome man and I wanted to capture the real person.”
Lady Dodd said: “Since Ken passed away, I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of kindness from all over the world and I am delighted that people will be able to head to Central Library and appreciate this permanent tribute to my husband.”
John Keane, head of libraries, has worked at Liverpool libraries since 1974 and has fond memories of Sir Ken from the 1970s and early 1980s when he worked as a young librarian at Liverpool Central Library.
“Ken used to pop in regularly to change his books and his LPs as he was really into his music as well as reading,” he said.
“He used to come in and have a bit of banter and always had a ready quip. He would have us all in stitches practising his new jokes on us! He was incredibly funny.
“Ken was also our guest of honour when we re-opened in May 2013 after our major refurbishment and was a real ambassador for Liverpool libraries.
“The Picton Reading Room feels like the perfect place for Ken to be remembered in this way.”