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Henry RUSSELL (1834-1909) was one of the most famous Pyreneists. This native of Toulouse, of Irish origin, has devoted most of his life to exploring our highest peaks. We owe him many "firsts" and he contributed to the creation of the Ramond Company, but his name is especially linked to Vignemale, his favorite mountain, for which he obtained the concession for 99 years and where he digs, from 1882, several caves, the "Bellevue" caves. RUSSELL climbed the Vignemale 33 times, the last of which on August 28, 1904 at the age of 70.
As soon as he passed away in 1909, a subscription committee of the CAF (Club Alpin de France) decided to erect a monument to his memory, in Gavarnie itself, his favorite territory. The first statue of RUSSELL, made by the Bordeaux sculptor Gaston VAUVENOT-LEROUX (1854-1942) in 1910, was inaugurated on September 5, 1911. The statue represents RUSSELL with objects that symbolize him: his famous stick, a pencil in his hand right, his notebook in the other hand and his cover. It is oriented towards Vignemale. The work, in bronze, was removed and melted down by the Germans in 1943, to make cannon barrels. The second statue, made after the model of the castle of Lourdes, was inaugurated on July 20, 1952 in Gavarnie, by the Pyrenees and on the initiative of the Pyrenean Museum. If the location of the two statues is exactly the same, at the entrance of the village, the second statue is slightly different from the first. In its current version, the folds of the cover are different, the stick is thinner and the pencil has disappeared.
Source: loucrup65.fr

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