Architectural sculptor. He studied at Nottingham School of Art and Design before working for George Myers. He moved to London where his stone-carving skills, particularly on ecclesiastical buildings, saw him undertaking work for George Gilbert Scott, Pugin and Teulon. A close working relationship developed between Earp and G.E. Street. The Eleanor Cross (Charing Cross, 1863) was one of Earp’s many successful works. Earp’s already considerable business, based in Lambeth, South London, expanded further in 1864 through a partnership with Edwin Hobbs. The firm opened premises in Manchester on Lower Mosley Street. Edwin Hobbs oversaw the Manchester business, residing in Chorlton-upon-Medlock and, later, Moss Side. Their reputation as ecclesiastical architectural carvers was of the highest, but they also undertook extensive work on public and private buildings throughout the country. The firm operated under the name of Earp, Son and Hobbs from the early 1890s, the founder dying in 1893. By 1910 they had become Earp, Hobbs and Miller, continuing under that name in Manchester until the early 1940s.
Sources: Mitchell, A., and O. Mitchell, Thomas Earp. Eminent Victorian Sculptor, Buckingham, 2002; Read, B., Victorian Sculpture, New Haven and London, 1982; Wyke, T., Public Sculpture of Greater Manchester, Liverpool, 2004.
Philip Ward-Jackson 2011
Firm specialising in electroplating and bronze founding established in Birmingham by George Richards Elkington (1801–1865) in association with his cousin Henry Elkington (c.1810–1852). In 1840 Elkington patented an electroplating process as a cheaper substitute for solid silver, which revolutionised the silver trade. In 1842, Josiah Mason became a partner and the firm became Elkington, Mason & Co. By the time of G.R. Elkington’s death in 1865, the firm was the leading electroplate company in the world; the firm was thenceforth continued by his five sons (Frederick, James Balleny, Alfred John, Howard and Hyla). Although Elkington’s commercial success was due originally to the production of useful articles, it also made original decorative ware in a variety of styles, as well as reproductions made in the related electrotype process. Public sculptures utilising Elkington’s electrotype process include the statues of Samuel Crompton, 1862, by William Calder Marshall, Bolton, and Oliver Goldsmith, 1862, by J.H. Foley, Dublin, and The Great Exhibition Memorial, unveiled 1863, by Joseph Durham, Prince Consort Road, South Kensington. Among the firm’s productions using conventional bronze casting processes are the statues of Sir Robert Peel, 1855, by Peter Hollins, Birmingham; the Guards’ Crimea Memorial, 1861, by John Bell, Waterloo Place; the equestrian statues of Albert, Prince Consort, 1866, and Queen Victoria, 1869, by Thomas Thornycroft, Lime Street, Liverpool; and, on Holborn Viaduct, 1867–69, Agriculture and Commerce by Henry Bursill, and Winged Lions, Fine Art and Science, by Farmer and Brindley. In 1963, the firm became part of British Silverware Ltd.
Sources: Art Journal: (i) 1 November 1865, p. 328 (obit. of G.R. Elkington); (ii) 1 July 1866, p. 223 (‘Birmingham Arts and Manufactures, and their progress’); Derby Mercury, 13 November 1872, p. 7 (‘The home of Electro’); Fleming, J., and H. Honour, The Penguin Dictionary of Decorative Arts, London, 1977, rev. edn. 1989; Journal of the Society of Arts, 1 December 1865, p. 46 (obit. of G.R. Elkington); Mapping Sculpture; Noszlopy, G.T., Public Sculpture of Birmingham (ed. J. Beach), Liverpool, 1998; NPG British Bronze Sculpture Founders; Ward-Jackson, P., Public Sculpture of the City of London, Liverpool, 2003.
T. Cavanagh November 2022
American-born British sculptor. He initially (1893–98) studied drawing and painting at the Art Students’ League, New York, but c.1899, turned to sculpture, attending night classes under George Grey Bernard, and working by day in a bronze foundry. He relocated to Paris and studied, firstly at the École des Beaux Arts and then the Académie Julian (1902–04). In 1905, he settled in London (becoming a naturalised British citizen in 1910). In 1907, he received his first major commission, for 18 life-size figures for the façade of Charles Holden’s British Medical Association building in The Strand (1907–08), his unidealized treatment of the nude sparking the first of a number of public scandals surrounding his work; the protruding parts of the figures were eventually hacked off in 1937, ostensibly to prevent them dropping to the pavement below, on the instructions of the new owners of the building, the high commission for Southern Rhodesia. Epstein began work on his next public commission, the Tomb of Oscar Wilde (1909–12) for Père Lachaise cemetery, Paris, in his studio at 72 Cheyne Walk. He had his first one-man show at the Twenty-One Gallery, London, in 1913 and in 1914 was a founder member of the London Group. Although now in close contact with the Vorticists, Epstein never joined them, and yet his Rock Drill(1913–25, destroyed; bronze cast of Rock Drill torso in Tate) is one of the most intensely powerful embodiments of the group’s aesthetic. His major public commissions of the inter-war years are Rima (Memorial to W.H. Hudson), 1923–25, Hyde Park, and, almost as controversial, his two monumental figure groups, Night and Day, 1928–9, for Holden’s London Underground headquarters, St James’s Park. Despite the notoriety of his large-scale public commissions, Epstein had been simultaneously building a reputation as a portraitist, with sitters ranging from Sibyl Thorndyke (1925) to Ramsay MacDonald (1926, 1934) to Haile Selassie (1936). His increasing income meant that he could rent a cottage in Loughton, Essex to use as a studio and permanently set up home at 18 Hyde Park Gate, Kensington. Other major works include The Visitation (1926, Tate), Genesis (1931, Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester), Lucifer (1945, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery), Christ in Majesty (1953, Llandaff Cathedral), Field Marshal Smuts (1956, Parliament Square); St Michael and the Devil (1959, Coventry Cathedral) and Madonna and Child (1950–52, Convent of the Holy Child Jesus, Cavendish Square, London). Epstein received few public honours: he was awarded honorary doctorates by Aberdeen in 1938 and Oxford in 1953, and was knighted in 1954.
Sources: Buckle, R., Jacob Epstein Sculptor, London, 1963; Gardiner, S., Epstein. Artist Against the Establishment, London, 1992; Haskell, A.L., The Sculptor Speaks. Jacob Epstein to Arnold L. Haskell: a series of conversations about art, London, 1931; Mapping Sculpture; Oxford Art Online – Grove Art Online; Silber, E., The Sculpture of Epstein: with a complete catalogue, London, 1986; Silber, E., ‘Epstein, Sir Jacob (1880–1959)’, ODNB, Oxford, 2004; Who was Who.
T. Cavanagh November 2022
He is recorded in the account book of the Charity School, Kensington High Street, London, as receiving, in the period Christmas 1714 to Christmas 1715, payment for stone figures of a boy and a girl for the school’s frontage (now St Mary Abbots primary school). The account book (the only known source for this sculptor) spells his name ‘Eustice’; the spelling, ‘Eustace’, used in the Survey of London and in Roscoe et al is incorrect.
Sources: Kensington Central Library local studies and archive: ‘Trustees of the Charity School Accounts 1708–33’, p. 119 (MS 63/6847); Roscoe, I., et al, A Biographical Dictionary of Sculptors in Britain 1660–1851, New Haven and London, 2009; Survey of London. Vol. XXXVII. North Kensington, London, 1973, p. 37.
Terry Cavanagh August 2023
Sculptor and carver, born in Manchester. He entered Manchester School of Art in 1912 and won a scholarship to the Royal College of Art in 1914. From 1915 to 1918, he was on active service in the First World War, but following demobilisation returned to the RCA, where Francis Derwent Wood was among his teachers. He completed his course in 1921 and went on to the RA Schools (1922–27), where in 1922 he won the Landseer Prize and in 1923, the Prix de Rome. He was at the British School at Rome, 1924–26, and showed the work executed there in his first solo exhibition, at the Goupil Gallery, 1927. He showed at the RA, 1921–59. He worked in the USA for some years, beginning with two years, 1929–30, teaching at Cranbrook Academy of Art; his commissions include works for the Rockefeller Center and a Christ in Prayer for Christchurch, Cranbrook, Michigan, the latter considered by Evans to be among his most important commissions. By autumn 1933 he was back in Britain. His public commissions include the Memorial to Bishop Chavasse, 1933, for Giles Gilbert Scott’s Liverpool Anglican Cathedral; relief carvings, 1935–36, for Wandsworth Town Hall and Municipal Offices; five relief panels for Earls Court Exhibition Centre, 1936–37; a bust of Thomas Coram, stone, 1937, over the entrance to 40 Brunswick Square, London; stone panels of craftsmen, 1938, for the exterior of E. Culpin’s Poplar Town Hall, Bow Road, London; relief sculpture, 1939, for Mauger, May and Sullivan’s Methodist Missionary Society building, Marylebone Road, London (illustrated in A.T. Broadbent, Sculpture Today in Great Britain 1940–43, London, 1944, pl. 8); and Gog and Magog, limewood, 1950–53, for the West Gallery, Guildhall, London. Examples of his work are in the National Portrait Gallery, London, and the National Museum and Gallery of Wales, Cardiff. Evans was an associate RBS from 1929 and a fellow from 1938. He moved to Welwyn Garden City in c.1942; the Urban District Council commissioned his stone figure of Dawn, 1950, for the Parkway.
Sources: Buckman, D., Artists in Britain since 1945 (2 vols: A–L, M–Z), Bristol, 2006; Mapping Sculpture; The Times, 16 March 1959, p. 14 (obit.); Ward-Jackson, P., Public Sculpture of the City of London, Liverpool, 2003.
T. Cavanagh November 2022