Glass helmet inspired by F1’s Susie Wolff goes on display

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A crystal glass racing helmet based on the one worn by Formula 1 star Susie Wolff is to go on public display.

The sculpture was created by artist Angela Palmer, who described Wolff as “gifted and fearless”.

It has been acquired by the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh where it will go on display shortly.

Wolff, from Oban in Argyll and Bute, retired from F1 driving in 2015 and founded Dare to be Different, an initiative that aims to increase the number of women participating in motor sport.

Crystal glass helmet sculpture
The gallery’s Kirsty Macaulay takes a closer look at the sculpture (Jane Barlow/PA)

“I’m delighted to see both sport and art combined in such a brilliant and personal piece of work.”

Palmer worked with a team of master glass blowers in Stourbridge, near Birmingham, who made a mould of Wolff’s helmet in brass.

Molten lead crystal glass was then blown into the mould to create the work.

Crystal was chosen for its fragility, echoing the membrane of the skull.

Palmer said of meeting Wolff: “She was as gifted and fearless as her male counterparts; her goal was not to be the best female driver in the world, but to be the best driver in the world.

“Susie’s helmet played a significant role in bestowing her equal status as a driver – once her helmet was on, no-one knew if she was male or female. The helmet gave her anonymity, and rendered the gender issue irrelevant.

“I became equally fascinated by that most potent ingredient which attracts so much of the sport’s following – the acute and heightened sense of risk as drivers slice between each other at over 350km/h with only millimetres to spare.”

Gallery directors hailed the work as “elegant and intriguing” and said it moved beyond the boundaries of conventional portraiture.

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