Figure 1: Paul Walter (2013) Boudica statue [photograph], Westminster, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=54793030
I first encountered Boudica while wandering the Thames towards Westminster Bridge in London. I noted that men dominated the statues lining the river – but one of a woman in a chariot caught my eye. That statue was Boudica and her daughters, designed by Thomas Thornycroft and cast in bronze in 1902. I assume the effect was intended, also in keeping with Queen Elizabeth I and Queen Victoria’s admiration for Boudica, who had both resurrected Boudica’s memory and tied her story to their own. Boudica today is an important female figure in British history, and the memory of her people’s victory over the Romans endures.
Boadicea and Her Daughters is a bronze sculptural group in London representing Boudica, queen of the Celtic Iceni tribe, who led an uprising in Roman Britain. It is located [on] …the north side of the western end of Westminster Bridge, near Portcullis House and Westminster Pier, facing Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster across the road. It is considered the magnum opus of its sculptor, the English artist and engineer Thomas Thornycroft (Wikipedia 2022).
An inscription on the front plinth reads ‘Boudica / (Boudicca) / Queen of the Iceni / Who died AD 61 / After leading her people against the roman invader’ (Wikipedia 2022).
What did Boudica do, and why is she still remembered?
Not many have heard of Boudica in Australia, so it is an excellent opportunity to tell her story when people ask how to pronounce her name. The spelling and pronunciation can be tricky because it differs according to the time and language you choose – English, Latin or Welsh.
In AD 60 or 61, Queen Boudica led clans and tribal groups into battle and defeated the Roman settler armies. A large group of locals followed Boudica into war after her husband, King Prasutagus, died. At this point, the Romans confiscated their lands, flogged Boudica and raped her daughters. Boudica’s vengeful campaign burned two large Roman cities – Londinium and Verulamium (St Albans, Hertfordshire) – to the ground. Her capacity to inspire and lead a great army into victory against the occupiers has rendered her memory a ‘cultural symbol of England’ and ‘a national heroine’. Boudica’s legend symbolises ‘the struggle for justice and independence’ (Wikipedia 2022).
So why name your company after Boudica?
When it came time to name my business, I reflected on that walk along the Thames and how she had stood out and led the way with her courage and resolve. Evoking Boudica’s memory has led me to craft a more independent and purposeful career and toward a deeper, more specialised design practice. Retraining has honed my strategic design, service design and design research skills and scaffolded that knowledge to 20 years of commercial practice producing digital and multi-channel experiences for global businesses across various verticals.
Wikipedia (2022) Boadicea and Her Daughters, Wikipedia website, accessed 27 September 2022. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boadicea_and_Her_Daughters
Wikipedia (2022) Boudica, Wikipedia website, accessed 27 September 2022. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boudica