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Public Statues and Sculpture Association

George Edward Wade (1853–1933)

Sculptor born in London, the sixth son of the Revd Nugent Wade, then rector of St Anne’s, Soho. Wade had no formal art training and became a sculptor only by chance. A painter in his spare time, on a visit to Italy he was introduced to the art patron Sir Coutts Lindsay who, on seeing one of Wade’s sketches, not only advised him to take up art full time, but also provided him with a studio in London. Wade later abandoned painting when he discovered a greater aptitude for sculpture. In 1889, he made his first appearance at the RA with a bronze bust of Lt.-Col. Myles Sandys, MP. In the following year his terracotta statuette of a grenadier guard attracted the attention of Queen Victoria who purchased a cast in bronze; one hundred further casts were purchased by the regiment. Another exhibit, his terracotta bust of his father (now Canon Wade) sufficiently impressed Joseph Edgar Boehm, Sculptor-in-Ordinary to Queen Victoria, that the latter offered to pass on to him any commissions he could not himself undertake. Indeed, following Boehm’s death at the end of the year, Wade took over his studio and executed his mentor’s commission for the statue of Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught, for Hong Kong (destroyed in the Second World War). There followed a long line of other royal commissions, including: a Diamond Jubilee statue of Queen Victoria for Colombo, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), 1897, and another for Allahabad, India, 1906; statues of King Edward VII for Reading, 1902, Madras (Chennai), 1902, Bootle, 1904, and Hong Kong, 1907; of Queen Alexandra for the Royal London Hospital, Mile End Road, 1908, and for Hong Kong, 1909; of King George V, 1907, for Hong Kong and 1911, Bombay (Mumbai); and of Queen Mary, 1909, for Hong Kong. (Wade’s three statues for Hong Kong were destroyed in the Second World War.) Other notable public commissions include a statue of Sir William Rose Mansfield, 1st Baron Sandhurst, for Bombay, c.1899; an equestrian statue of Earl Haig for Edinburgh, c.1920–23; and statues of General William Booth and Catherine Boothc.1927–29, for William Booth College, Camberwell, London. Three bronze casts of his statue of Sir John A. MacDonald (RA 1893), Canada’s first prime minister, were commissioned for Montreal, Quebec, and Hamilton and Kingston, Ontario; the first two were toppled by Indigenous Rights protestors in August 2020 and August 2021 respectively, and the third was removed by the authorities in June 2021. Wade’s war memorials include the 79th Cameron Highlanders, 1893, Inverness, Scotland, and two for the South African war, each topped with his bronze figure of ‘Peace’, at Norwich, England, 1904, and Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, 1907. M.H. Spielmann perhaps provided the most apposite explanation for Wade’s remarkable commercial success: ‘It cannot be said that there is any striking style or marked individuality in the work of Mr. Wade, or that the modelling calls for special comment. But it must surely be accounted to the credit of the sculptor that in his portrait busts and statues his gentlemen look like gentlemen, and his ladies lady-like – a virtue which cannot be claimed by some sculptors who are cleverer modellers and greater artists.’

Sources: Baldry, A.L., ‘Our Rising Artists: George E. Wade, Sculptor’, Magazine of Art, 1900, pp. 545–48; Gray. A.S., Edwardian Architecture, London, 1985; Hutchison, S.C., ‘Wade, George Edward (1853-1933)’, ODNB, (2004), rev. edn. 2020; Illustrated London News, 21 December 1901, p. 972 (‘The Sculptor of the King’s Statue for India. Mr. G.E. Wade and his Work’); Maidenhead Heritage Centre (‘George Edward Wade 1853–1933’); Mapping Sculpture; Quinlan, M., British War Memorials, Hertford, 2005, p. 319; Spielmann, M.H., British Sculpture and Sculptors of To-day, London, 1901, pp. 141–42; Who Was Who, 2007.

Terry Cavanagh November 2022

Wade, George Edward

George Edward Wade working on his statue of John A. MacDonald, 1892 (photo: public domain, via Wikipedia)

Arthur George Walker (1861–1939)

Sculptor, painter and mosaicist, born in Hackney, London. He attended the RA Schools 1883–88 (winning a Landseer Scholarship in 1886). In the earlier part of his career, he executed a number of architectural sculpture commissions, including stone and bronze emblems of the Four Evangelists, 1895, for the tower of the Church of the Ark of the Covenant (later Church of the Good Shepherd), Upper Clapton, London; and mosaic designs for the Greek Orthodox church, Bayswater, and Whitelands College, then at Chelsea. Walker executed a South African War Memorial for Bury St Edmunds (1904), and numerous First World War memorials. His figure of a Tommy standing with reversed rifle was commissioned in Portland stone for Heston, Middlesex (1918) and Chesham, Bucks (1921), and in bronze for Sevenoaks, Kent (1920), Heath Town, Wolverhampton (1920), Dartford, Kent (1922), and Ironbridge, Shropshire (1924). He also produced bespoke memorials, for St Anne’s Church, Limehouse, 1921 (with a figure of the Blessing Christ); Shrewsbury School, 1923 (with a figure of old-boy Sir Philip Sidney); and Derby, 1924 (with a standing Virgin and Child). Walker’s first important public statue was of Florence Nightingale, 1914, Waterloo Place (followed in 1916 by a relief memorial to the same subject for the crypt of St Paul’s Cathedral). Later public statues include Emmeline Pankhurst, 1930, Victoria Tower Gardens, Westminster, and an equestrian John Wesley, 1932, Wesleyan Chapel courtyard, Broad Mead, Bristol. Walker was a member of the Art Workers’ Guild, 1892–1916, and a founder member of the RBS (1904; FRBA from 1923). He was elected ARA in 1925, RA 1936, Senior RA 1937, and was a Visitor at the RA Schools, October 1928–June 1929. The RA has three of Walker’s oil paintings (c.1932) of the interior of his studio at Cedar Studios, Glebe Place, Chelsea, in which can be seen the models for a number of his works.

Sources: Beattie, S., The New Sculpture, New Haven and London, 1983; Gray, A.S., Edwardian Architecture, London, 1985; Mapping Sculpture Who Was Who.

Terry Cavanagh November 2022

Walker, Arthur George

Arthur George Walker, Self-portraitc. 1910, oil on canvas, Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum, Bournemouth (photo: public domain)

William Walker (fl.1840–1881)

Sculptor about whom little is known other than that he lived in Leith. Apart from his statue of Queen Elizabeth on the Scott Monument, Edinburgh, his only other recorded work is a marble medallion of Bertel Thorwaldsen of 1847, which is now lost.

Source: Johnston, W.T., Dictionary of Scottish Artists (c.2000), Scottish National Library, ref CD-ROM.585.

Ray McKenzie 2018

Wallace & White (fl. 1833–1846)

Firm of sculptors and marble cutters about whom little is known other than that it had a workshop on Shrub Place, near Leith Walk, Edinburgh, and was engaged by the committee of the Burns Monument to move Flaxman’s statue of the poet to the library of Edinburgh University in 1846. The sculptor named Wallace who is recorded as having carved the horse on William Dick’s nearby Veterinary College is likely to have been a partner in the firm.

Sources: Edinburgh Evening Courant, 30 September 1833, p. 3c; Edinburgh Town Council Minutes, vol. 245, p. 191, 20 January 1846; Macdonald, A.A., et al, ‘Locating Veterinary Education in Edinburgh in the Nineteenth Century’, Book of the Old Edinburgh Club, New Series, vol. 6, 2005, p. 46.

Ray McKenzie 2018

André Wallace (b. 1947)

Sculptor born in Somerset where he attended the local school of art, 1964–67, before moving on to the Liverpool College of Art, 1967–70, RA Schools, 1970–71, and Royal College of Art, 1971–73. In 1974 he was awarded the Sainsbury Prize for Sculpture. He has shown at the RA since 1973 and has taken part in many mixed exhibitions, both in the UK and abroad. His solo exhibitions include Mercury Gallery, London, 1975, 1977 and 2000; Middlesbrough Art Gallery, 1978; Cartwright Hall, Bradford, 1983 and 2000; Drumcroon Gallery, Wigan, 1994; and Stephen Lacey Gallery, London, 2001. His work, which is usually figurative and characterised by smoothly modelled, simplified forms, has often been commissioned for public spaces and created in collaboration with architects, developers and councils. Public commissions include Man with Pigeons, 1976, Eldon Square Shopping Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne; The Whisper, 1984, polyester resin, Southend Pond, Bromley Road, London, and bronze, Milton Keynes public library; Thomas Telford, 1986, Telford Civic Square; Wind of Change, 1989, Exchange Quay, Salford, and Harbour Exchange, Limeharbour, London; Walking Women, 1992, Wimbledon town centre; Siren, 1995, and River God, 1996, Newcastle Quays, Newcastle upon Tyne; Helmsman, 1996, Pimlico Gardens, London; Boatman, 2004–05, Chepstow, Monmouthshire; Head and Thinking Man, 2006–07, University of Wolverhampton Learning Centre; and Roller Skater, 2010, Moreton Street, Pimlico, London. Wallace is a FRSS.

Sources: information from the sculptor; André Wallace website; Cavanagh, T., Public Sculpture of South London, Liverpool, 2007; Lloyd, F., et al, Public Sculpture of Outer South and West London, Liverpool, 2011; Royal Society of Sculptors website; Usherwood, P., et al, Public Sculpture of North-East England, Liverpool, 2000.

Terry Cavanagh November 2022

Edward Prioleau Warren (1856–1937)

Architect born in Bristol. He attended Clifton College, Bristol, and was subsequently articled to G.F. Bodley who greatly influenced his early work. Following his master’s death in 1907, Warren designed Bodley’s memorial which was unveiled in his last completed building, Holy Trinity, Prince Consort Road, South Kensington, in 1910; in the same year, Warren published an account of Bodley’s life and work in the RIBA Journal (3rd series, vol. 17 (1910), pp. 305–40). A.S. Gray described Warren as ‘an all-round architect’, equally comfortable designing churches, colleges (mostly in Oxford, but some Cambridge) and homes. He designed Hanover Lodge, St John’s Wood, London (1903–04), which Gray commended as ‘the best-looking block of mansion flats in an era of mansion flats’. He also designed his own home, Breach House, Cholsey, Berkshire (1906) as well as the reredos for the parish church (1925) in whose churchyard he is buried. He was FSA and FRIBA, and a member of the AWG (Master in 1913).

Sources: Gray, A. S., Edwardian Architecture, London, 1985; Who was Who; relevant editions of Pevsner’s ‘Buildings of England’.

Terry Cavanagh November 2022

Allan Watson (b. 1960)

Sculptor and teacher. Born in Blairgowrie, he studied sculpture at Gray’s School of Art, Aberdeen (1982-88), completed a PhD there (1988-92), and is now the Head of Fine Art. Strongly influenced by the experience of growing up on a farm in rural Perthshire, his sculpture is mostly concerned with the landscape, and includes works such as Beacon, 1994, a stylised tree in polished steel in the Tyrebagger Sculpture Trail near Dyce, Aberdeenshire. His work was shown at the Peacock Gallery, Aberdeen, in 1998, and in 2000 he was Guest Artist at the Nordic Artists Centre in Dale, Norway.

Source: Allan Watson website.

Ray McKenzie October 2023

Jill Watson (b. 1957)

Scottish figurative sculptor, working mainly in bronze, she was born in Edinburgh but grew up on a farm in the Carse of Gowrie, near Perth. After graduating from Edinburgh College of Art, she travelled to Italy to learn marble carving, and to work with bronze among the artisans of the workshops and studios at Pietrasanta, near Carrara. Major public commissions have included a bronze espalier tree at the entrance to the Clore Learning Centre, Hampton Court, London. Among her recent works is Widows and Bairns, a series of four linked memorials, in Cove, St Abbs, Eyemouth and Burnmouth on the Berwickshire coast, commemorating the fishing disaster of 14 October 1881. The memorials, the last of which was completed in the summer of 2016, replicate the exact number of widows and children affected by the death of the 189 men who were drowned, thus conveying at a glance the impact of the tragedy on the local community. Jill Watson currently divides her time between studios in Edinburgh and Italy.

Source: information provided by the artist.

Ray McKenzie 2018

Musgrave Lewthwaite Watson (1804–1847)

Sculptor. Born in Carlisle. On the advice of John Flaxman, Watson entered the Royal Academy Schools, and while attending classes there became a pupil in the studio of the sculptor R. Sievier. His education and apprenticeship were to be extremely protracted. He spent three years in Italy. On his return in 1828, he visited Carlisle, but was soon back in London, where he took a studio near the British Museum. During the ensuing decade he worked mainly for other sculptors, Chantrey, Behnes and Baily. By 1842 he had attained a degree of independence and was commissioned to execute a frieze for Moxhay’s Hall of Commerce in Threadneedle Street. This frieze survived the demolition of the building, and can still be seen at Napier Terrace, Islington. Watson sent in two models for the competition for the pediment of William Tite’s Royal Exchange in the same year, but failed to win the competition. He was recompensed with a commission for a statue of Queen Elizabeth I for the interior of the Exchange. After completing a statue of John Flaxman for University College, London, Watson modelled and partially carved a double portrait statue of Lords Eldon and Stowell for University College, Oxford. This work was incomplete at the time of his death. He was also selected by Sir Robert Peel to model the relief of The Battle of St Vincent for Nelson’s column. This was to be another commission which Watson did not live to complete. Works like the much-admired relief of the Death of Sarpedon, shown at the Royal Academy in 1844, inspired great hopes for Watson’s future. When he died at the age of 43, it was claimed that his chances of success had been prejudiced by his unconventional lifestyle, and that British sculpture had lost one of its brightest stars.

Sources: Lonsdale, H., The Life and Works of Musgrave Lewthwaite Watson, Sculptor, London, 1866; Roscoe, I., et al, A Biographical Dictionary of Sculptors in Britain 1660–1851, New Haven and London, 2009.

Philip Ward-Jackson 2011

George Frederic Watts (1817–1904)

Painter and sculptor, born in London. In c.1827, he entered the studio of the sculptor, William Behnes, a family friend. As part of his training, Watts was required to make drawings of plaster casts after the antique, amongst which were some from the Elgin marbles. The profound impact these works exerted upon him lasted a lifetime. Although he gained entrance to the RA Schools in 1835, he was disappointed with the quality of teaching and left in the following year, later saying, ‘The Elgin Marbles were my teachers. It was from them alone that I learned’. Watts established a reputation as one of the leading painters in Victorian England, but in the late 1860s also began to produce sculpture. His marble bust, Clytie (London, Guildhall Art Gallery), which he exhibited unfinished at the RA in 1868 earnt him ecstatic reviews; the Athenaeum critic praised the sculpture’s ‘passionate vivacity of design and that large style of treatment which should be more often found in the works of trained sculptors than it is. That a painter should exhibit this fine style is extraordinary’. A commission for an equestrian statue of Hugh Lupus soon followed, with Watts revisiting the theme over the following decades, transforming it, in the process, into his sculptural masterpiece, Physical Energy, erected posthumously in Kensington Gardens, 1907. Watts also executed a number of church monuments: to Thomas Cholmondeley, 1866–67, St Mary and St Andrew, Condover, Shropshire; Bishop Lonsdale, 1869–70, Lichfield Cathedral; Lord Lothian, 1871–74, Blickling church, Norfolk; and John Armistead, 1876, Sandbach church, Cheshire. And finally, there are his two important outdoor statues, Henry Fox, 3rd Baron Holland, 1869–72, Holland Park, London, and Alfred Lord Tennyson, 1898–1903, Lincoln Cathedral. Watts was elected ARA in January 1867 and RA in December of the same year. He lived and worked in Kensington for much of his life: from 1851 to 1875 at Little Holland House, as the long-term guest of Henry Thoby Prinsep and his wife, and from 1876 in his own home at 6 Melbury Road (‘New Little Holland House’). In 1891, Watts and his second wife commissioned the architect Ernest George to build Limnerslease (now Watts Gallery) at Compton, outside Guildford, as their autumn and winter country residence; here, preserved in the sculpture studio, are the full-size gesso grosso models of Physical Energy and Lord Tennyson.

Sources: The Athenaeum, 16 May 1868, p. 702; Bryant, B.C., ‘Watts, George Frederic (1817–1904)’, ODNB, Oxford, 2004; Manchester Guardian, 2 July 1904, p. 7 (obit. by M.H. Spielmann); Mapping Sculpture; Morris, E., and E. Roberts, Public Sculpture of Cheshire and Merseyside (excluding Liverpool), Liverpool, 2012; Oxford Art Online – Grove Art OnlineRoyal Academy of Arts website; The Times, 2 July 1904, p. 5 (obit.).

Terry Cavanagh November 2022

Watts, George Frederic

George Frederic Watts (photo: Ogden’s Guinea Gold Cigarettes trade card No.74, issued 1902; public domain)

Sir Aston Webb (1849–1930)

Architect born at Clapham (then in Surrey), the son of Edward Webb, a watercolourist and steel engraver. Webb was articled to Banks and Barry, 1866–71. Before setting up in independent practice in 1873, he won the RIBA’s Pugin studentship which financed his travel to Europe and Asia. During the 1880s he began a working relationship with Edward Ingress Bell (1836–1914), their first successful competition entry being in 1886 for the Victoria Law Courts, Birmingham (completed 1891); this collaboration continued up to 1909 and included the critically acclaimed Metropolitan Life Assurance Company offices, Moorgate, London (1890–93). Webb’s independent work includes the restoration of St Bartholomew the Great, Smithfield (1885 onwards); the Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth (1898–1907); the southern extension to the V&A with unified façades along Exhibition and Cromwell Roads (1899–1908); and, most importantly, Admiralty Arch, The Mall, the architectural surroundings of Brock’s Victoria Memorial and the refacing of Buckingham Palace (1905–13). Webb’s obituarist in The Times considered his most successful building, ‘from the point of view of unity of effect’, the Royal College of Science, Imperial Institute Road (1900–06; demolished 1970s). Greatly concerned about London’s future, in January 1914 he delivered an address to the London Society, in which he described a dream image of what the city would be like in 2014, ‘with a salmon weir at London Bridge’. While not considered a great architect whose works were touched by genius, his inoffensive, restrained baroque classicism and his immaculate planning skills, allied to his personal charm and trustworthy, businesslike character, made him the ‘most prominent British architect of his time’ (Times obit.). He was president of Architectural Association, 1881–82, and of the RIBA, 1902–04. He was elected ARA in 1899 and RA in 1903, and was PRA, 1919–24, the first architect president since James Wyatt in 1805. He was knighted in 1904 and was an original member of the Royal Fine Art Commission, formed in 1924. In that year, he was injured in a motor accident, never fully regaining his health. The elder of his two sons, Maurice Webb (1889–1939), continued his practice (the younger had been killed in the war). Webb died in his sleep at his house at 1 Hanover Terrace, Kensington, on 21 August 1930, and was interred in the family plot at Gunnersbury cemetery, Middlesex. In 1932, a memorial tablet designed by William McMillan was unveiled in St Paul’s Cathedral.

Sources: Dungavell, I., ‘Webb, Sir Aston (1849–1930)’, ODNB, Oxford, 2004; The Times, 22 August 1930, p. 12 (obit.); Ward-Jackson, P., Public Sculpture of Historic Westminster. Volume 1, Liverpool, 2011; Who was Who.

Terry Cavanagh November 2022

Webb, Aston, Sir

Sir Thomas Brock RA, Bust of Sir Aston Webb PRAc. 1922 (photo: © Royal Academy of Arts, London; photographer: Paul Highnam)

George Webster (1846–1921)

Sculptor from Dundee, he trained at the school of the Board of Manufactures and the Royal Scottish Academy, where he won the Stuart Prize – the ‘blue ribbon of the art curriculum’ – in 1872 for a high relief entitled Christ Appearing to the Two Marys. This was followed by a nine-month visit to Italy. He produced statues, portrait busts and medallions, statuettes and narrative reliefs, but is not known to have carried out any major monumental commissions. Although he never received any academic honours, he took a prominent part in the debate on sculpture at the Art Congress of 1889, which was held at the newly completed Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Queen Street, Edinburgh.

Sources: Johnston, W.T., Dictionary of Scottish Artists (c.2000), Scottish National Library, ref CD-ROM.585; The Scotsman, 27 September 1921, p. 6d (obit.).

Ray McKenzie 2018

Henry Weekes (1807–1877)

Sculptor born at Canterbury. In 1822 he began a five-year apprenticeship with William Behnes and in the following year entered the RA Schools where in 1826 he won a silver medal for the best model from the antique. In 1827, he became an assistant to Francis Chantrey. After Chantrey’s death in 1841, Weekes purchased his former master’s studio at 96 Buckingham Palace Road and completed a number of his works including the equestrian Duke of Wellington (1841–44; Royal Exchange). He exhibited at the RA 1828–77 and at the British Institution 1850–66. He was elected ARA 1851 and RA 1863, and was Professor of Sculpture at the RA Schools, 1868–76. Weekes is chiefly known as a portrait-sculptor and in 1838 was commissioned by Queen Victoria to execute her bust, the first following her accession to the throne. Among Weekes’s most successful full-length portrait statues are those of Francis Bacon, 1845, Trinity College, Cambridge, and John Hunter, 1864, Royal College of Surgeons. In 1856, he executed Sardanapalus, one of a series of figures based upon themes from English literature commissioned by the Corporation of London from the leading sculptors of the day for the Egyptian Hall, Mansion House. Weekes also produced numerous church monuments, his masterpieces in this field being those to Samuel and Elizabeth Whitbread, 1849, Cardington, Bedfordshire, and Percy Bysshe Shelley,, 1854, Christchurch Priory, Hampshire. The most important of his public sculptures were for Sir George Gilbert Scott: the figures of Cranmer, Ridley and Latimer for the Martyr’s Memorial, 1841–43, Oxford, and the group, ‘Manufactures’, 1864–70, for the Albert Memorial, Kensington Gardens. Weekes was an accomplished writer on art, his essay on the Fine Art Section of the Great Exhibition of 1851 earning him a gold medal. His RA Schools lectures were published posthumously as Lectures on Art in 1880 and were described by Benedict Read as ‘the most consistent and intelligent exposition of sculptural thinking in the Victorian era’.

Sources: Read, B., Victorian Art, New Haven and London, 1982; Roscoe, I., A Biographical Dictionary of Sculptors in Britain 1660–1851, New Haven and London, 2009; Stevens, S., ‘Weekes, Henry (1807–1877)’, ODNB, Oxford, 2004; Royal Academy of Arts website; information from RA archives.

Terry Cavanagh November 2022

Weekes, Henry

Henry Weekes, albumen print mounted on card with printed name (photo: © Royal Academy of Arts, London; photographers: John & Charles Watkins, fl.1857–1876)

David Westby (b. 1948)

English sculptor, painter and teacher. Born in Sheffield, he studied at Falmouth School of Art and the Slade School of Art, London. This was followed by a travelling scholarship to Italy and Sicily, which engendered a lifelong interest in Italian art and culture. Since the early 1990s he and his partner, the painter Leonie Whitton, have been running a residential summer school for artists in Puglia, southern Italy, offering practical workshops and classes in the history of Italian art. He exhibits widely in the UK. His Edinburgh Relief Map, bronze, 1984–88, stands on the walkway beside the south-east corner of the Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh. Other public sculpture commissions may be found in Cornwall and Yorkshire.

Sources: Cornwall Artists Index. David WestbyIl Collegio. Creative Holidays in Italy.

Ray McKenzie 2018

Sir Richard Westmacott (1775–1856)

Sculptor. The son of Richard Westmacott I (1746/47–1808), he became one of the leading neoclassical sculptors of heroic monuments in England. He studied under his father before going to Italy in 1793, where he became a pupil of Canova. By 1795 he had been elected a Member of the Academy of Florence and had won the Gold Medal of the Academy of St Luke for his bas-relief, Joseph and his Brethren. He returned to England in 1797 and soon established his own studio, running a flourishing practice producing statues, busts, ideal works, chimney-pieces and funerary monuments. He exhibited at the RA from 1797 to 1839, was elected ARA in 1805 and RA in 1811, and was appointed Professor of Sculpture in 1827. He won commissions for two of the national monuments in St Paul’s commemorating heroes of the Napoleonic Wars – to Lieutenant General Sir Ralph Abercromby (1803–09) and to Vice-Admiral Cuthbert, Lord Collingwood (1811–17) – and sculpted memorials for Westminster Abbey to William Pitt the Younger (1807–15), and to Charles James Fox (1810–23). Westmacott also produced the first non-royal statues to be raised in the open-air; his London statues include those of Francis Russell, 5th Duke of Bedford (1809); Charles James Fox (1810–14); George Canning (1827–32); and Frederick Augustus, Duke of York and Albany (1829–34). For Birmingham and for Liverpool he made memorials to Lord Nelson, that in Liverpool an elaborate allegorical composition, created in collaboration with Matthew Cotes Wyatt. The success of his practice was exceeded only by that of Chantrey. Like Chantrey he owned his own foundry, thus managing to secure many prestigious public commissions, including the colossal bronze Achilles (1814–22), erected in Hyde Park as a monument to the Duke of Wellington. Westmacott was knighted in 1837. His last major work was the multi-figure group, entitled the Progress of Civilisation, in the pediment of the British Museum (1847–51).

Sources: Busco, M., Sir Richard Westmacott. Sculptor, Cambridge, 1994; Roscoe, I., et al, A Biographical Dictionary of Sculptors in Britain 1660–1851, New Haven and London, 2009.

Philip Ward-Jackson 2011

Tom Whalen (1903–1975)

Sculptor chiefly in stone, wood and bronze, and architectural carver. Born in Leith, Scotland, he trained as a shipwright, but began whittling figurines from scrap wood in a period of unemployment. These were drawn to the attention of the head of sculpture at Edinburgh College of Art, Alexander Carrick, who secured him a scholarship and a place in the wood-carving class of Thomas Good. A contemporary of Hew Lorimer and Scott Sutherland, he was the first holder of the Andrew Grant Fellowship, and the winner of a Royal Scottish Academy Carnegie Travelling Award, enabling him to study in Paris, Florence and Rome. His first solo show was at the Cooling Gallery, London, in 1933–34, and in 1938 he was commissioned to make large statues for several temporary buildings at the Empire Exhibition, Glasgow, including the 7.6-metre, neo-Romanesque Service for Basil Spence’s Scottish Pavilion. Among his later works are the 2.1-metre bronze figure of The Sower on the façade of Kirkcaldy Town Hall, cast in 1956 by George Mancini, who also cast his Ballerina at Dalkeith High School in 1961. A figure of Maternity in Hoptonwood stone stood for some time outside his studio at 60 Dean Path, Edinburgh. His Mother and Child in Leoch stone stands outside the NHS Lothian Charity, Edinburgh. He was much sought after as an architectural carver, and carried out decorative schemes for numerous churches (e.g., the Parish Church at Kippen, near Stirling), and for hydro-electric power stations in Grudie Bridge, Lairg and Lochalsh. Elected ARSA in 1940 and RSA in 1954, he exhibited at the Academy throughout his career, showing work in a wide range of woods, stones and metals, as well as terracotta and, on one occasion (1966), reinforced concrete.

Sources: Cumming, E., Hand, Heart and Soul: the Arts and Crafts Movement in Scotland, Edinburgh, 2006, p. 224; Gordon, E., Tom Whalen: Scottish Sculpture (ex. cat.), Edinburgh, 1973), quoted in Johnston, W.T., Dictionary of Scottish Artists (c.2000), Scottish National Library, ref CD-ROM.585; Laperriere, C.B. de (ed.), The Royal Scottish Academy Exhibitors 1829–1990: a dictionary of artists and their work in the annual exhibitions, Wiltshire, 1991, (4 vols), vol. 4; McEwan, P.J.M., The Dictionary of Scottish Art and Architecture, Ballater, Aberdeenshire, 2004; Pearson, F. (ed.), Virtue and Vision: Sculpture in Scotland, Edinburgh, 1991, p. 114.

Ray McKenzie 2018

Oliver Wheatley (1868–1931)

Sculptor born in Handsworth, Birmingham. He studied at Birmingham School of Art, 1888–91, and was awarded a national scholarship to enter the National Art Training School, South Kensington, where he later won a Gold Medal and Travelling Scholarship. Wheatley exhibited widely in his early years, with the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists, and at the Liverpool Autumn Exhibition and the RA. His address in the 1895 RA catalogue, a Paris hotel, is consistent with M.H. Spielmann’s statement that Wheatley had received some training in the atelier of the French symbolist painter Aman-Jean. Wheatley also worked for a time as an assistant to the sculptor Thomas Brock. The Studio, March 1906, p. 132, illustrated Wheatley’s relief panels for an organ case, shown at that year’s Arts and Crafts Exhibition at the Grafton Gallery, London, representing child musicians framed within decorative foliage. Wheatley’s only major public sculpture commissions were his high relief figures of Inigo Jones and Christopher Wren, 1905, on Aston Webb’s V&A Museum frontage, and Electricity and Speed, 1899, for the old Bank Underground railway station, City of London. He evidently suffered from a mental illness in his later years, the RA nominations book for 26 March 1920 noting ‘certified in lunatic asylum’. Wheatley died at St Andrew’s Hospital, Northampton, of aortic valve disease.

Sources: Mapping Sculpture; Spielmann, M.H., British Sculpture and Sculptors of To-day, London, 1901; Ward-Jackson, P., Public Sculpture of the City of London, Liverpool, 2003.

Terry Cavanagh November 2022

Alister J. White (b. 1958)

Scottish sculptor and engineer specialising in kinetic works. He was born and brought up in Birkhill, near Dundee, and studied at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, Dundee, between 1984 and 1988, having previously worked as an engineer with the defence company Ferranti. Known to his colleagues as Oss White, he currently lives in Spain.

Source: Artifex, no. 2, January/February 1998, p. 7.

Ray McKenzie 2018

J. Whitehead & Sons

According to its advertisements in the early 1920s, the London-based firm had been founded in 1821. It is not until the second half of the nineteenth century, however, that examples of its sculptural output can be securely identified. The firm was by this period under the directorship of John Whitehead I (c.1845–1904), who gave his occupation as an undertaker, but who was also a stone and marble merchant and manager of a monumental sculpture business. A marble statue commissioned from the firm and unveiled in 1883 representing Alexander MacDonald – the first of a series of four miners’ leaders for niches on the Miners’ Hall, Durham – is signed ‘J. Whitehead. Westminster. London’. (This and the three succeeding statues have since been relocated to pedestals outside the Durham Miners’ Association Offices at Redhills Lane, Durham.) By the end of the century and with the growth to maturity of John’s two sons, Joseph James Whitehead (1868–1951) and John Walter Whitehead II (1876–?), the firm had become J. Whitehead & Sons Ltd. Joseph became director either in 1902 or, following his father’s death, in 1904. Their initials being the same, there seems to have been no need to change the company name (as is evidenced by the Architectural Review, January 1925, p. lviii, which, in listing the contractors for the Star and Garter Home, Richmond, states that Mr Joseph Whitehead of J. Whitehead & Sons, London, was responsible for the stone carvings). References in recent literature to Joseph Whitehead & Sons seem to result from a confusion with those commissions Joseph carried out independently as a portrait and figure sculptor (see below). In 1904, Whitehead & Sons moved from their Westminster Address (Vincent Square) into the Imperial Works, Harleyford Road, Kennington Oval. By 1909, the firm was the official contractor for the Metropolitan Drinking Fountain and Cattle Trough Association. In the early 1930s Joseph Whitehead retired, to be succeeded by his son, Cecil John Whitehead (1902–1983). Whitehead’s were in business until at least 1985 when they executed the pedestals for Ian Walters’ Memorial to the International Brigade, Jubilee Gardens, and the colossal bust of Nelson Mandela, 1985, outside the Royal Festival Hall, both London. Their numerous public commissions include the Surf Boat Memorial, 1900, Margate Cemetery, Kent; Chelsea Pensioners War Memorial, 1901, Brompton Cemetery, Kensington; Beauchamp Lifeboat Memorial, 1903, Caister-on-Sea, Norfolk; Ada Lewis Memorial Fountain, 1908, Maidenhead Riverside, Berks; Titanic Engineers’ Memorial, 1914, Southampton (for which F.V. Blundstone provided the bronze sculptures); and the Hyde War Memorial, 1921, Werneth Low, Greater Manchester.

Sources: Cavanagh, T., Public Sculpture of South London, Liverpool, 2007; Lamb, A., ‘John Rae’s Sculptor – Some Notes on Joseph Whitehead’, Aglooka Advisor (The John Rae Society), No. 11 (Winter 2020), pp. 12–14; Lloyd, F., et al, Public Sculpture of Outer and South West London, Liverpool, 2011; Merritt, D., et al, Public Sculpture of Bristol, Liverpool, 2011; Noszlopy, G.T., Public Sculpture of Warwickshire, Coventry & Solihull, Liverpool, 2003; Seddon, J., et al, Public Sculpture of Sussex, Liverpool, 2014; Usherwood, P., Public Sculpture of North-East England, Liverpool, 2000; Ward-Jackson, P., Public Sculpture of the City of London, Liverpool, 2003; Wyke, T., Public Sculpture of Greater Manchester, Liverpool, 2004.

Terry Cavanagh November 2022

Joseph Whitehead (1868–1951)

Sculptor born in Aston, Birmingham, the elder son of John Whitehead (see above), an undertaker, stone and marble merchant, and owner of a thriving monumental sculpture business based in London. Joseph Whitehead attended the National Art Training School in the late 1880s and subsequently the Accademia di Belle Arti di Carrara where his father’s firm had an office. Here also he met his future wife, Ottilia Maro (1866–1957). On the couple’s return to England, Whitehead joined the family firm, became principal sculptor and either in 1902 or, following his father’s death in 1904, managing director. He also operated independently of the firm, working from his own studio near the firm’s workshops in Vincent Square. He exhibited at the RA summer exhibitions, 1889–95, his works amounting to one statue and five busts. In 1893, he carved the relief portrait bust of Revd Charles Spurgeon for his monument in West Norwood Cemetery. This was followed two years later by a Memorial to Dr John Rae, St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall, Orkney Islands – an expressive, superbly carved, marble effigy of the explorer asleep, his hands clasped behind his head, open book and rifle at his side; it is signed ‘Joseph Whitehead. Sculptor. London’. In the same year came his memorial bust of Archbishop Robert Knox (RA 1895, no. 1615) for St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh, Northern Ireland. His Monument to Sir Augustus Harris, 1897, Brompton Cemetery is in a sadly ruinous state. A work entirely lost is the anti-vivisectionist Brown Dog Memorial, 1906, formerly Latchmere Park Recreation Ground, Battersea, south London; the cost of a permanent police watch over the memorial to prevent medical students destroying it proved too much for the council who discreetly removed it one night in 1910 and subsequently had it melted down. In Woodside Cemetery, Paisley, Scotland, is the Monument to Second-Lieutenant Daniel M. Duncan (d. 1918) killed in action in the closing months of the First World War, for which Whitehead provided the poignant Mother and Son group, loosely based on Michelangelo’s Pietà (St Peter’s, Rome); it has been suggested that the death of Whitehead’s own eldest son, Eric, in the same year, influenced his choice of subject. Whitehead’s last significant public sculpture was his model of a jubilant home-returning soldier, raising his helmet above his head in salutation. At least seven bronze casts were made in the early 1920s, all of them inscribed on the integral bases with the names of both the sculptor and the founder (A.B. Burton): one cast, formerly at the King Edward Street Post Office, City of London, was destroyed by fire in 2004, the others are at ChertseyWorthingStaffordTruroEbbw Vale; and Queens County, Liverpool, Nova Scotia. With the deterioration of Whitehead’s health in the early 1930s, he and his wife moved to the Hampshire coast where, with the architect W. Hinton Stewart, the sculptor designed the couple’s final residence, Creek House, Barton on Sea.

Sources: Building News, 28 April 1893, p. 592; Cavanagh, T., Public Sculpture of South London, Liverpool, 2007; Lamb, A., ‘John Rae’s Sculptor – Some Notes on Joseph Whitehead’, Aglooka Advisor (The John Rae Society), No. 11 (Winter 2020), pp. 12–14; Lloyd, F., et al, Public Sculpture of Outer and South West London, Liverpool, 2011; Mason, P., The Brown Dog Affair. The story of a monument that divided the nation, London, 1997; Noszlopy, G.T., & F. Waterhouse, Public Sculpture of Staffordshire and the Black Country, Liverpool, 2005.

Terry Cavanagh November 2022

Geoffrey Earle Wickham (1919–2005)

Born in Wembley, he studied at the Willesden School of Art (1935–38) under Ernest Heber Thompson, and at the Royal College of Art (1946–49). He was for many years principal lecturer in fine art at the Sir John Cass School of Art. He was elected fellow of the Royal Society of British Sculptors in 1967, and won its Silver medal in 1972. Between 1982 and 1985 he lived in Japan. Work which he showed at an exhibition at the Hattingen Art Society, in Germany, in 1989, bore a strong Japanese imprint. Commissions include City Music (1962), a series of abstract reliefs, on an office building in Ludgate Hill, and Fountainhead (1972), off Motcomb Street, London. Wickham practised as both painter and sculptor, and also wrote for Arts Review and Designed Environment. In 1996 he was registered totally blind, but, with the assistance of David Reading, constructed a large figure of a man with a bird, and produced a series of abstract paintings with the help of Greta Levins.

Source: Buckman, D., Artists in Britain since 1945 (2 vols: A–L, M–Z), Bristol (1998), 2nd edn. 2006.

Philip Ward-Jackson 2011

Julian Wild (b. 1973)

Sculptor, living and working in Lewes, East Sussex. He graduated from Kingston University, London, with a BA in Fine Art in 1995, subsequently working as an assistant to Damian Hurst before setting up on his own. He has taken part in numerous group exhibitions, including ‘Beyond Limits’, Chatsworth House, and ‘Make Do’, V22, Ashwin Street, London, 2008, and ‘Sculpture in the City’, City of London, 2014–15. He was awarded the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea and Chelsea Arts Club Trust Studio Bursary, 2009–12, the work produced during this residency being shown at the Leighton House Museum in an exhibition entitled ‘Wrestling Pythons’, an allusion to Frederic Leighton’s most famous sculpture, Athlete Wrestling with a Python; one of Wild’s exhibits, Indeterminate System, 2010, japanned hardwood, was subsequently placed on permanent display in the town hall’s civic reception foyer. His 5-metre-high, 12m long, painted and polished stainless steel Origin, 2017, was commissioned by the University of Oxford to stand outside its Li Ka Shing Centre for Health Information and Discovery. The Canary Wharf Group has acquired two of his works for permanent display: Origin (Vertical), 2017, painted and polished stainless steel, Crossrail Place Roof Garden, and Scribbleform, 2020, painted steel, Montgomery Square, both Canary Wharf, London. He has been a senior lecturer at the Art Academy, London, since 2016, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Sculptors (Vice-President, 2015–19).

Sources: Julian Wild website; Art Academy website; Royal Society of Sculptors website.

Terry Cavanagh November 2022

Wild, Julian

Julian Wild, 2015 (photo: © A.K. Purkiss)

David Wilkinson (b.1946)

Sculptor, teacher and therapist specialising in site-specific and ephemeral works, frequently incorporating an element of community engagement. Born in the docklands of Hull, he studied 3-D and interior design at Hull College of Art, gaining a Distinction in 1966, later working variously as a set and special effects designer for TV and film studios, and an interior and display designer for a museum in London. He was a founder member of Artlink, and since 1990 has practiced ‘integrative therapy’, using creative practices in individual and group contexts to promote mental health and well-being.

Source: information from the artist.

Ray McKenzie 2018

(Gertrude) Alice Meredith Williams (1877–1934)

Sculptor, decorative painter, book illustrator and stained-glass window designer. She was born in Liverpool and studied at the School of Architecture and Applied Art, Liverpool, and in Paris. In 1907, she settled in Edinburgh, remaining there with her husband and collaborator, the painter and stained-glass window designer Morris Meredith Williams, until the completion of their work on the Scottish National War Memorial for Sir Robert Lorimer in 1927, after which they retired to Devon. She carried out many other commissions for Lorimer, including the modelling of a series of wooden figures for the church of St John, Perth, and the bronze figure group for the war memorial in Paisley (1924), her masterpiece. She exhibited regularly at the Royal Scottish Academy between 1907 and 1929.

Sources: Cumming, E., Hand, Heart and Soul: the Arts and Crafts Movement in Scotland, Edinburgh, 2006, pp. 192-93; McEwan, P.J.M., The Dictionary of Scottish Art and Architecture, Ballater, Aberdeenshire, 2004; Macmillan, D., Scotland’s Shrine: The Scottish National War Memorial, Farnham, 2014, pp. 71–74.

Ray McKenzie 2018

Richard Wilson (b. 1953)

Sculptor born in London, ‘internationally celebrated for his interventions in architectural space which draw heavily for their inspiration from the worlds of engineering and construction’ (Royal Academy of Arts). After a Foundation Course at the London College of Printing, 1970–71, he took a diploma course at Hornsey College of Art, 1971–74, and a Master’s degree at Reading University, 1974–76. In 1976, he had his first solo show, ‘11 Pieces’ at the Coracle Press Gallery, London; since then, he has exhibited widely, both nationally and internationally. In 1983 he formed, with Anne Bean and Paul Burwell, the Bow Gamelan Ensemble – making percussive music from scrap metal. In 1987, Wilson created what is widely considered to be his seminal work, 20:50; first installed at Matt’s Gallery, London, it was at the Saatchi Gallery until in 2014 it was acquired for the permanent collection at Mona (Museum of Old and New Art), Tasmania. In his 1996 BBC television series, A History of British Art, the art critic Andrew Graham Dixon hailed 20:50 as ‘one of the masterpieces of the modern age’. In 2000, Wilson was the only British artist invited to participate in the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial, Japan, his contribution being Set North for Japan (74°33′ 2″). In the same year his A Slice of Reality (a cut-through section of an ocean dredger), one of the art works commissioned for the Millennium Dom, was installed at Greenwich. His contribution to Liverpool’s year as European Capital of Culture (2008), Turning the Place Over, an 8-metre diameter ovoid section cut from the walls and windows of a building and fixed to a slowly rotating spindle, was in operation until 2011. His permanently sited Square the Block, mounted on the corner of the London School of Economics building, Kingsway, London, followed in 2009, and Shack Stack at Grosvenor Waterside in 2010. As part of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad Festival, he included in his exhibition at the De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea, a temporary installation, Hang on a Minute Lads … I’ve Got a Great Idea, a replica of the coach used in the 1969 film, The Italian Job. Fixed in position overhanging the building’s roof, a hydraulic mechanism made the coach appear to teeter dangerously; in 2019, the film’s fiftieth anniversary, it was installed at Turin, the location for the film’s heist. In 2014, Wilson’s Slipstream for Heathrow Terminal 2 won the PMSA’s Marsh Award for Excellence in Public Sculpture. In 2005, he was included in the Tate’s ‘Modern Artists’ book series (Richard Wilson by Simon Morrisey); in 2006 he was elected RA (Professor of Sculpture, 2011–15); and in 2008, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Middlesex.

Sources: Richard Wilson website; Buckman, D., Artists in Britain since 1945, Bristol (1998), 2nd edn. 2006; Royal Academy of Arts website; Seddon, J., et al, Public Sculpture of Sussex, Liverpool, 2014; Usherwood, P., et al, Public Sculpture of North-East England, Liverpool, 2000.

Terry Cavanagh November 2022

Wilson, Richard

Richard Wilson, 2018 (photo: © A.K. Purkiss)

Stanley Wilson (b. 1937)

Sculptor. Born in Douglas, Lanarkshire, but living since his childhood in Edinburgh, he worked as a professional musician from 1961 to 1964, and as an engineer from 1968 until he enrolled as a full-time student at Edinburgh College of Art in 1988. He graduated with a BA in sculpture from Heriot-Watt University in 1992, and in the same year was appointed by the university as its consultant for sculpture design, a post devised to mark the completion of its twenty-one-year building programme on the Riccarton campus.

Source: Heriot-Watt University Bulletin, vol. 26, no. 14, 13 October 1992.

Ray McKenzie 2018

Joseph Wilton (1722–1803)

Sculptor born in London, the son of a successful ornamental plasterer. He studied firstly with Laurent Delvaux in Nivelles, Belgium, then from 1745 with Jean-Baptiste Pigalle in Paris, during which time he was awarded a silver medal by the French Academy. In 1747, he relocated to Rome and earned a comfortable living making casts and copies of antique statuary for Grand Tourists. In 1750, his Cain Killing Abel earnt him the first gold medal awarded to an English artist by the Accademia di San Luca. In 1751, Wilton moved to Florence, living in Sir Horace Mann’s guest house; in 1752, he was elected to the Florentine Accademia del Disegno. He finally returned to England in 1755, establishing his reputation in 1759 by winning the competition for the James Wolfe monument for Westminster Abbey (unveiled 1773). His appointment in 1761 as sculptor in ordinary to George III resulted in some major commissions, including an equestrian statue of the king for New York (1766–70, destroyed 1776); statues of William Pitt the Elder for Cork (1764–66), New York (1766–70), and Charles Town, West Virginia (1766–70); a funeral monument to Basil Keith, governor of Jamaica (d. 1777); and a bust of George III for Montreal (1766; now McCord Museum, Montreal). Among Wilton’s friends were Louis François Roubiliac, who made his portrait bust (plaster, c.1760; RA), and the architect William Chambers, for whose monuments to the Duke of Bedford at Chenies, Bucks (1765–7), and the Earl and Countess Mountrath in Westminster Abbey (1766–71), he executed the sculpture; Wilton’s workshop also carried out much of the architectural sculpture for Chambers’ Somerset House (1776–90). A skilled portraitist, his busts may by seen in the V&A – Dr Antonio Cocchi (1755–56) – and NPG – Thomas Hollis (c.1762) and William Pitt the Elder (c.1766). Wilton was, in 1768, a founder member of the RA (keeper from 1790). According to his ODNB entry, he was ‘the first academically trained English sculptor’, going on to become ‘the most distinguished sculptor of his generation’.

Sources: Coutu, J., ‘Wilton, Joseph (1722–1803)’, ODNB, Oxford, 2004; Roscoe, I., A Biographical Dictionary of Sculptors in Britain 1660–1851, New Haven and London, 2009.

Terry Cavanagh November 2022

Wilton, Joseph

Sir Joshua Reynolds, Joseph Wilton, 1752, oil on canvas (photo: © National Portrait Gallery, London)

Francis Derwent Wood (1871–1926)

Sculptor, born at Keswick, Cumbria. His family moved to Switzerland in 1880 and by 1885 were in Germany where Wood began his art education at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Karlsruhe. After his family’s relocation to Shropshire in 1887, Wood worked as a modeller, firstly for Maw & Co and then the Coalbrookdale Iron Co. In 1890, he enrolled at the National Art Training School, South Kensington, where he studied modelling under Edouard Lantéri. In 1891, he worked as an assistant to Alphonse Légros at the Slade School of Fine Art. He entered the RA Schools in 1894 while working as an assistant to Thomas Brock, and in 1895 won the Gold Medal and Travelling Studentship with his group, Daedalus and Icarus (plaster at Russell-Cotes Art Gallery, Bournemouth; bronze at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery), which financed a year-long stay in Paris. From c.1897 to 1901 he was visiting director of modelling at Glasgow School of Art. He was elected a member of the AWG in 1901, was a founder member of the RBS in 1904, and was elected ARA in 1910 and RA in 1920. During the First World War he worked for the London General Hospital making masks to cover facial disfigurements. From 1918 to 1923 he was Professor of Sculpture at the RCA. His public statues include Sir Titus Salt (1903), Saltaire, Yorkshire; General Wolfe (1911), Westerham, Kent; Edward VII (1914), Rangoon; William Pitt (1918), Washington, DC; and Henry Royce (1923), Derby. His war memorials include St Mary’s Church, Ditchingham, Norfolk (1920); the Cotton Exchange, Liverpool (1922); Keswick (1922); and the Machine Gun Corps, Hyde Park Corner (1925). Wood also produced portrait busts and ideal works. In 1929, a bronze cast of his marble Atalanta (1909, Manchester Art Gallery) was erected on Chelsea Embankment as a memorial by his friends at the Chelsea Arts Club (of which he was for many years a member); sadly, this was stolen in 1991 and in 1994 was replaced with a replica. Wood and his wife (and, from 1904, their son) lived until c.1908 at 23 Clareville Grove, South Kensington, although by 1911 their improved financial situation had allowed them to purchase the lease on 18 Carlyle Square, Chelsea; Wood worked from a studio at 27 Glebe Place, Chelsea, from 1900 to 1925. He is buried in the churchyard at Amberley, Sussex, a bronze cast of his relief, The Lamentation, set into his headstone.

Sources: Beattie, S., The New Sculpture, New Haven and London, 1983; Crellin, S., ‘Hollow Men: Francis Derwent Wood’s Masks and memorials, 1915–1925, Sculpture Journal, vol. VI, 2001, pp. 75–88; Crellin, S., ‘Wood, Francis Derwent (1871–1926)’, ODNB, Oxford, 2004; Mapping Sculpture; Parkes, K., ‘Francis Derwent Wood, R.A.’, American Magazine of Art, Vol. 18, No. 2 (February 1927), pp. 79–87; Royal Academy of Arts website; The Times, 20 February 1926, p. 14 (obit.); Withey, M., The Sculpture of Francis Derwent Wood, London, 2015.

Terry Cavanagh November 2022

Wood, Francis Derwent

Francis Derwent Wood, photographer unknown, c. 1914, bromide print (photo: © National Portrait Gallery, London)

Frank Arnold Wright (1874–1961)

Sculptor born at Rotherhithe, south London. He studied at the RA Schools, 1898–1903, winning the Landseer Scholarship in 1900. He was studio assistant to Thomas Brock and on the latter’s death in 1922 was entrusted with the completion of a number of the works his master had commenced, including the memorial to Joseph Lister, Portland Place, London, which bears Brock’s signature. In the case of two other commissions, however, the Queen’s University Belfast War Memorial, which Brock had taken no further than the small model, and the Memorial to Frederick Ducane Godman and Osbert Salvin, Natural History Museum, for which Brock had produced only the preliminary design, Wright himself signed the completed works. His own most prominent commission is the war memorial, 1922, at Lloyd’s Register, London. Wright was a regular exhibitor at the RA, 1903–35, showing 28 works, a mixture of ideal works and portraits. He was a member of the RBS from 1906 (ARBS 1923–36, FRBS 1936–42, and honorary member 1942–61).

Sources: Brock, F., Thomas Brock: forgotten sculptor of the Victoria memorial (ed. J. Sankey), Bloomington, Indiana, 2012; Mapping SculptureRoyal Academy of Arts website.

Terry Cavanagh November 2022

William Wright of Charing Cross (d. 1654)

Wright is first recorded living in the parish of St Martin in the Fields, Westminster, 1607–08. Although he initially trained as a haberdasher, by 1608 he is documented collaborating with John Key on the monument to Sir William Paston for North Walsham, Norfolk. Documents show that Wright resided, and ran his own workshop, at or near Charing Cross until his death. His monuments from the earlier part of his career adhere to the convention of recumbent or kneeling figures housed within architectural settings designed to impress, although, as Adam White has pointed out, Wright was ‘at best semi-literate in the vocabulary of classical architecture, with little idea how to use it either decoratively or structurally, perhaps because he lacked the mason’s training which was normal for London sculptors of his time’. Wright nevertheless ran a successful workshop and became renowned in the latter part of his career for his shroud tombs, a notable example attributed to him by White being that to Sara Colvile (d. 1632), Chelsea Old Church.

Source: White, A., Biographical Dictionary of London Tomb Sculptors (Walpole Society, vol. 61, 1999, pp. 1–162), pp. 144–55.

Terry Cavanagh December 2022

James Wyatt (1808–1893)

Sculptor, the second son of sculptor Matthew Cotes Wyatt (1778–1862); his three brothers became architects, but James joined and then continued his father’s practice. He worked as an assistant on his father’s King George III , for Cockspur Street, Westminster (unveiled 1836), and the colossal Duke of Wellington, for Constitution Arch, Hyde Park Corner (installed 1846; removed 1883; now Aldershot). Having an especial interest in equestrian subjects, he designed the eight moulds for the latter’s horse. He exhibited only three times at the RA. His first showing was a marble of his daughter, Lilla Asleep, in 1838 (private collection, USA), his second and third were both equestrian subjects – Mazeppa, 1843, and An Arab and his Steed, 1844 (both untraced). In 1844, he was an entrant in the Westminster Hall competition, with another equestrian subject, Richard Coeur de Lion; although the figure was praised in the press, he received no commission from Parliament. Equestrian subjects featured in his three contributions to the 1851 Great Exhibition: a model of a quadriga, intended for a triumphal arch, and full-size models for equestrian statues of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. The siting of these latter in pride of place, in the transept either side of the dais used for the Exhibition’s ceremonial opening, caused much resentment among the critics who for the most part considered them ‘crude’, ‘disagreeable’ and ‘inept’ (see, e.g., Illustrated London News, 17 May 1851, p. 424; The Era, 18 May 1851, p. 12; and The Eclectic Review, June 1851, p. 749). His only independent public sculpture commission seems to have been the design of the pediment group, Fruitfulness accompanied by Trade and Navigation (carved by Alexander Handyside Ritchie) on the former Commercial Bank of Scotland, George Street, Edinburgh (1845–46). Notoriously indolent, on inheriting a considerable fortune from his father he retired early. He had three children by his first wife, and married his second at the age of 80.

Bibliography: A. Graves, The Royal Academy of Arts. A complete dictionary of contributors and their work from its foundation in 1769 to 1904 (8 vols), London (1905–06), vol. 8, 1906 (Toft–Zwecker); R. McKenzie, Public Sculpture of Edinburgh (2 vols), Liverpool, 2018, vol. 2, pp. 93–96, 522; Mapping Sculpture; I. Roscoe et al, A Biographical Dictionary of Sculptors in Britain 1660–1851, New Haven and London, 2009.

Terry Cavanagh October 2023

Jonathan Wylder (b. 1957)

Sculptor, born in Salisbury, Wilts. Wylder began as a painter, turning to sculpture only in his thirties. His main interest is the human form, modelling in clay for casting in bronze. His public commissions include a statue of Robert Grosvenor, First Marquis of Westminster, 1998, and a bust of the architect E.G. Basevi, 2000, both Belgrave Square, London; The Mermaid, 2008, Royal Yacht Squadron, Jubilee Haven, Cowes, Isle of Wight; and a statue of Tony ‘Bomber’ Brown, 2014, West Bromwich Albion Football Club.

Sources: Jonathan Wylder website; The Wykeham Gallery – Jonathan Wylder.

Terry Cavanagh November 2022

George Wyllie (1921–2012)

A sculptor, writer, performer and social commentator, Wyllie was born in Glasgow but lived in Gourock, Inverclyde, from 1954. He worked as a Post Office engineer until undertaking war service in the Royal Navy, after which he became a customs officer in Ireland and on the west coast of Scotland. His admiration for Italian metal sculpture led him to attend welding classes at the Royal Technical College, and after studying part-time at Glasgow School of Art he became a full-time artist in 1979. Defying easy classification, his work crosses many boundaries, combining mixed media and kinetic sculpture with installation art and the theatre, all underpinned by a Dadaesque commitment to the subversion of conventional thinking. Wyllie himself defined his practice as a form of ‘Social Scul?ture’, humorously exploiting Joseph Beuys’ assertion that ‘all art is questionable’. Visual puns abound, even in his large-scale permanent public sculptures, such as Just In Case (1995), a colossal safety pin in the manner of Claes Oldenberg, now installed in a garden near the site of the former Rottenrow Maternity Hospital, Glasgow. In his finest works, however, the monumental is allied with the ephemeral, most notably in the Straw Locomotive, which was commissioned as part of the Glasgow Mayfest celebrations of 1987, and ritually burnt as a lament for the destruction of the city’s heavy industries. An artist of international stature, and admired throughout Scotland as the country’s unofficial ‘Whysman’, he was the winner of the Gulbenkian Prize in 1990 for sailing his Paper Boat successively down the Clyde, Thames, Sheldt and Hudson rivers. The newspaper Scotland on Sunday went on to present an annual ‘Paper Boat Award’ to artists producing work of outstanding quality and originality, but this now appears to have been discontinued. In collaboration with Kenny Munro and LesleyMay Miller, he created the Stones of Scotland for Regent Road Park, Edinburgh (2000–02).

Sources: McKenzie, R., Public Sculpture of Glasgow, Liverpool, 2002, pp. xvii–xviii, 501–02; Jeffrey, M., ‘George Wyllie obituary. Self-taught sculptor whose work had an enduring influence on Scottish artists’, The Guardian, 22 May 2012.

Ray McKenzie 2018

David Wynne (1926–2014)

Sculptor born in Lyndhurst, Hampshire. He attended Stowe school, Buckinghamshire, joined the Royal Navy in 1944 and, after the war, studied zoology at Trinity College, Cambridge. However, both he and the dons realised he had little academic potential and, with their blessing, he forewent his exams to practice his art. He received early encouragement from Jacob Epstein who persuaded his father to buy him a studio. Wynne was self-taught, apart from a few lessons with Georg Ehrlich (for whom his future wife, Gilli, was then modelling) and three months learning to carve stone in Paul Landowski’s workshop in Paris. He held his first one-man show at the Leicester Galleries in 1955, finding and cultivating wealthy and loyal patrons from the start of his career. Wynne first achieved widespread attention with his LCC commission, Guy the Gorilla, 1960–61, for Crystal Palace Park. Despite his popular success, Wynne was never accepted by the art establishment and his head of Oscar Kokoschka, 1965, given to the Tate by a private benefactor remains in store. In 1964, he sculpted portrait heads of The Beatles, developing a friendship with them and particularly with George Harrison to whom he introduced the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (whose portrait head he had earlier modelled). Wynne executed portrait heads and busts of numerous other famous people including Queen Elizabeth II; Charles, Prince of WalesSir Yehudi Menuhin; and Sir Thomas Beecham. He designed the linked hands on the 1973 50p pieces that marked Britain’s entry into the European Economic Community and also the Silver Jubilee medal of 1977. His public sculptures including River God Tyne, 1968, Newcastle upon Tyne; Girl with a Dolphin, 1973, outside the Tower Hotel, Tower Bridge; Boy with a Dolphin, 1974, Cheyne Walk, Chelsea; The Messenger, 1981, Sutton; and a statue of Fred Perry, 1984, All England Club, Wimbledon. Wynne considered his Christ in Glory, 1985, for the front of Wells Cathedral, his most important commission; his most controversial is without doubt the brightly coloured Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Memorial Gates, 1992, at Hyde Park Corner, lambasted by critics but evidently loved by the royal family. He was appointed OBE in 1994. Wynne married in 1959, but his wife, Gilli, died of cancer in 1990; she had a son and a daughter from her first marriage and Wynne and she had two sons; the younger son, Roland, committed suicide in 1999 and Wynne’s stepson, Jonathan, died in a motorcycle accident in 2007.

Sources: Elliott, D., Boy with a Dolphin. The Life and Work of David Wynne, London, 2010; Lloyd, F., et al, Public Sculpture of Outer South and West London, Liverpool, 2011; Stone, J. (ed.), The Sculpture of David Wynne 1969–1974, London, 1975; Stone, J. (ed.), The Sculpture of David Wynne 1974–1992, London, 1993; Usherwood, P., et al, Public Sculpture of North-East England, Liverpool, 2000; online obituaries: Daily Telegraph, 9 September 2014; The Times, 15 September 2014; The Guardian, 23 September 2014.

Terry Cavanagh November 2022