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Public Statues and Sculpture Association

James Samuel Farley (1811–1866)

Farley was a monumental mason who lived at Kensal Green and operated from premises opposite the entrance to Kensal Green Cemetery. His principal monument in the cemetery is that to Eleanor Mary Gibson (d. 1872), praised by Christopher Brooks as giving ‘striking proof of the high level of craftsmanship achieved by the commercial firms of Victorian monumental masons’. After his death, the business was carried on by his son, James Stephen Farley, and after the son’s death by T. Kemp; today it continues to trade at the same address under the name Jordan Farley Ltd. James Samuel Farley had been appointed chapel clerk and sexton of the cemetery in 1843 and is buried there.

Sources: Brooks, C., in J.S. Curl (ed.), Kensal Green Cemetery, Chichester, West Sussex, 2001; Mapping Sculpture ; Roscoe, I., et al, A Biographical Dictionary of Sculptors in Britain 1660–1851, New Haven and London, 2009.

T. Cavanagh November 2022

William Fawke (1948–2018)

Fawke trained initially as a painter at the Heatherley School but, on encountering the work of Rodin and Giacometti he shifted his primary focus to sculpture. He exhibited with the Society of Portrait Sculptors, 1978 and 1979, and had his first solo exhibition, also of portrait busts, at Chelsea Library, 1982. Other solo exhibitions include Leighton House Galleries, 1986; The Gallery, Cork Street, 1996; and The Air Gallery, Dover Street, 1999. His public statues include Thomas Cubitt (1955), with casts in Pimlico and Dorking; and Vaughan Williams (2001), Dorking. For Felix Dennis’s ‘Garden of Heroes and Villains’, Warwickshire, Fawke was commissioned to execute two statues, Dr Johnson (2009) and Tim Berners-Lee (2013). He was elected ARBS in 1997. He lived for most of his life in Chelsea, working from Chelsea Farm Studios in Milmans Street. At the time of his death, he was working on a series of sculptures based on Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

Sources: the sculptor’s website (no longer available); The Chelsea Society.

T. Cavanagh November 2022

Juan Carlos Ferraro (1917–2004)

Argentinian sculptor, principally of portrait busts and statues. He was a pupil of Luis Perlotti, collaborating with him on the Mausoleum of the Argentine boxer, Luis Ángel Firpo, in the Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires. Ferraro shared a workshop with his wife, the sculptor Lidia Elsa Battisti. In 2006, following Ferraro’s death, his widow donated their workshop, along with more than 500 of her husband’s works, to the city of Buenos Aires to be opened as a museum. Notable among the works in the museum is a 2.4m high statue of the tango singer Carlos Gardel, Ferraro’s unsuccessful entry for a competition in which he felt he was the rightful winner. Ferraro’s work includes a group of seven busts of Argentine heroes in the Congreso de Tucumán underground station, Buenos Aires; the Monument to Aníbal Troilo (bandoneon player) in the Chacarita Cemetery, Buenos Aires; a bust of General Manuel Belgrano (1993) in Casa Rosada (Government House), Buenos Aires; and a bust of General Don José de San Martín’s biographer José Pacífico Otero, in Plaza Grand Bourg, Buenos Aires. He completed two statues of General Don José de San Martín, one for Belgrave Square and another for Seville. Ferraro was awarded the Palma Sanmartiniano by the San Martín National Institute in 1990.

Sources: ‘En el Taller-Museo de Juan Carlos Ferraro – Buenos Aires’, Gardel in sus monumentos; ‘Juan Carlos Ferraro, el escultor del monumento a San Martín’, Mensajero del río; Patrimonio y Arte Urbano de la cuidad de Buenos Aires.

T. Cavanagh November 2022

Henry Louis Florence (1843–1916)

Architect. He was articled in 1860, and subsequently studied in the Atelier Questel, Paris. He attended the RA School of Architecture and was travelling student and gold medallist in 1870. Having been elected ARIBA in 1865 (Soane medallist, 1869), he was elected a full member in 1878 and was vice-president, 1897–99. He was also a president of the Architectural Association, and in his will made provision for the establishment of the AA’s Henry L. Florence Studentship’s Fund. Florence began practice as an architect in 1871 in partnership with Lewis Henry Isaac. His own designs, include the former Institute of Journalists, Nos. 2–4 Tudor Street, City of London, 1902–04, described in Bradley and Pevsner as a ‘pretty essay in the tradition of Norman Shaw’s Scotland Yard’, and the Kensington Queen Victoria Memorial, 1904, now Warwick Gardens. He was also an art collector who made bequests to National Gallery, British Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum.

Sources: Bradley, S., and N. Pevsner, London 1: The City of London, (1997), 1999, p. 612; ‘Henry Louis Florence, 1843–1916’, The Correspondence of James McNeill Whistler; Daily Telegraph, 21 February 1916, p. 7 (obit.); ‘Henry Louis Florence, Architect’, Prabook; Who was Who; Wikipedia.

T. Cavanagh November 2022

James Forsyth (1827–1910)

Architectural and ecclesiastical sculptor, born in Kelso, Scotland. He was a son of Adam Forsyth, a mason, and the elder brother of William Forsyth, also a sculptor. At 13, Forsyth was an apprentice carver and gilder in Kelso, but by 1851 was in Wells, Somerset, working for the architect Anthony Salvin, shortly afterwards moving to London. Forsyth’s first major commission was the execution of two great fountains to the designs of W.A. Nesfield at the 1st Earl of Dudley’s Witley Court, Worcestershire: Flora, 1859, and Perseus and Andromeda, 1860. Forsyth’s most extensive ecclesiastical commission followed in the mid-1860s at St John’s Church, Frome, for which he carved: along the approach to the north porch, a Via Crucis (‘perhaps unique among English churches’, Foyle and Pevsner); flanking the west porch, figures of the Evangelists on the exterior and four saints inside; the high altar reredos; a Madonna and Child and a Pietà for the Lady Chapel; and a series of 18 medallions in the nave arcade spandrels (miracles on the north wall, parables on the south). Forsyth also executed a number of tomb monuments, including Lord Lyttelton, 1878, and 1st Earl of Dudley, 1888 (both designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott, both Worcester Cathedral); Bishop Parry, 1881, and Hon. James Beaney, 1893 (both Canterbury Cathedral); Bishop Fraser, 1887 (Manchester Cathedral); George Godwin (d. 1888), Brompton Cemetery; Bishop T. Legh Claughton, 1895 (designed by James Oldrid Scott, St Alban’s Cathedral); and Bishop Pelham, 1896 (Norwich Cathedral). Forsyth exhibited at the RA (21 items, 1864–89) and at the Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts. His son, James Nesfield Forsyth, was also a sculptor.

Sources: Foyle, A., and N. Pevsner, Somerset: North and Bristol, 2011, p. 508; ‘The life and works of James and William Forsyth’, theforsythbrothers; ILN: (i) 6 April 1867, pp. 345, 346; (ii) 26 October 1878, p. 384; (iii) 4 June 1887, pp. 632, 634; (iv) 16 June 1888, pp. 650, 652; (v) 4 March 1893, p. 279; Mapping Sculpture

T. Cavanagh November 2022

G. Franchi & Son

Clerkenwell-based modellers, casters and, according to the Art Journal in 1866, ‘the only electrotypists who devote themselves exclusively to Fine Art’. Giovanni Ferdinando Franchi (c.1811–74) was born in Lucca, Tuscany, and his son, Giovanni Antonio Franchi, who predeceased him (c.1832–70), in Clerkenwell. Before moving on to the production of electrotypes, the firm had begun as casters of figures in plaster and played a significant role in creating the market for ‘fictile’ ivories (imitations of ivory in plaster); in 1846, they won a medal and five guineas from the Society of Arts ‘for the best imitation of ivory in plaster composition’. Franchi & Son received further medals in 1851 at the Great Exhibition, and in 1873 at International Exhibition, London, and the Universal Exhibition, Vienna. The firm supplied numerous casts for the South Kensington Museum’s (now V&A) Cast Courts including, in plaster, Nicola Pisano’s Pisa Baptistry pulpit (purchased by the museum in 1864 for £116 13s 4d); and in electrotype, Bonanno’s Pisa Cathedral Porta di San Ranieri (purchased in 1864 for £480) and Ghiberti’s Florence Baptistry ‘Gates of Paradise’ (purchased in 1866 for £950). The firm was also responsible for electrotyping, in 1867, the relief panels for the doors of the then main entrance to the museum (designed by James Gamble and Reuben Townroe to drawings by Godfrey Sykes). At G.F. Franchi’s invitation, in the early part of his final year, the business was acquired by Elkington & Co.

Sources: Art Union: (i) 1 July 1846, p. 204; (ii) 1 August 1846, p. 239; Art Journal: (i) 1 September 1866, p. 286; (ii) 1 January 1870, p27; (iii) 1 February 1875, p.44; NPG British bronze sculpture founders; Patterson, A., and M. Trusted, The Cast Courts, London, 2018; V&A Art & Design Archives: ‘Science and Art Department board minutes precis (1863–1877), vol. 1, p. 102

T. Cavanagh November 2022

Elisabeth Frink (1930–1993)

Sculptor and printmaker, born in Thurlow, Suffolk. She studied at Guildford School of Art, 1947–49, and then Chelsea School of Art, 1949–53, under Willi Soukop and Bernard Meadows. She taught at Chelsea, 1953–61, at St Martin’s School of Art, 1954–62, and at the RCA, 1965–67. Her first solo exhibition (following some early shows with the London Group) was at St George’s Gallery, London, 1955, and her first overseas exhibition was in 1959 at the Bertha Schaefer Gallery, New York; she has subsequently exhibited worldwide. She had a retrospective at the RA, 1985, and a memorial exhibition at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Bretton Hall, 1994. Frink was elected ARA in 1972 and RA in 1977; she was also a FRBS and was awarded the RBS Gold Medal for Sculpture in 1993. She was appointed CBE in 1969, and was made DBE in 1982 and Companion of Honour in 1992. Examples of her work are in the Tate and the Arts Council collection. Her work is figurative, consisting chiefly of men, animal and bird subjects, and including series such as the goggle heads, running men, horses and riders, etc. Public commissions include Wild Boar, 1957, Harlow New Town; Blind Beggar and Dog, 1957, Bethnal Green; Eagle Lectern, 1962, Coventry Cathedral; Paternoster, 1975, Paternoster Square, City of London; Horse and Rider 1975, New Bond Street, London; Standing Man, Walking Man and Running Man, 1985, WH Smith Headquarters, Swindon; and Water Buffaloes, 1986, Hong Kong. Her final work, the Risen Christ on the West Front of Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral, was unveiled a week before her death from cancer on 18 April 1993. She was the subject of catalogues raisonné in 1984 and 2013 and an official biography in 1998.

Sources: Gardiner, S., Elisabeth Frink. The Official Biography, (1998), 1999; Mapping Sculpture; ODNB; Ratuszniak, A. (ed.), Elisabeth Frink. Catalogue raisonné of sculpture 1947–93, London, 2013; Willder, J. (ed.), Elisabeth Frink, Sculpture. Catalogue Raisonné, Salisbury, Wilts., 1984.

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Elisabeth Frink, March 1990 (photo:©A.K.Purkiss)

William Silver Frith (1850–1924)

Sculptor born in Leicester, a son of Henry Frith, the owner of a stone and wood carving business. At an uncertain date, Henry moved to Gloucester and the family business was carried on there by William’s older brother, Henry Chapman Frith. William moved to London, studying at Lambeth School of Art from the late 1860s and the RA Schools from 1872. In 1879, he was engaged to teach modelling at Lambeth (renamed South London Technical School in 1879), holding that position (part-time from 1895) until his death. Frith was one of the most influential sculpture teachers of his age, his students including many leading figures of the subsequent generation. Firmly believing in the essential unity of all the sculptor’s arts, Frith took on commissions of every sort, while nevertheless always considering himself principally an architectural sculptor. The architect for whom he carried out most work was Aston Webb. He worked on the architect’s Victoria Law Courts, Birmingham, 1887–91; Metropolitan Life Assurance Building, Moorgate, London, 1890–93; Christ’s Hospital School, Horsham, 1902–03; and the new frontages for the V&A Museum, 1905–08; he also carved Webb’s pedestal design for Heinrich Baucke’s statue of William III outside Kensington Palace, 1907. In addition, Frith worked for Doulton & Co, supervising the modelling team and executing the ‘Canada’ group for the firm’s Victoria Fountain, Glasgow, 1888. He executed two fine monuments in Gloucester Cathedral, a marble tablet to T.B. Lloyd Baker, c.1886, and the tomb of Bishop Charles Ellicott, 1908 (Frith carving the effigy, his brother the tomb-chest). For Lord Astor, Frith executed works for both 2 Temple Place, his London office, and Cliveden, his Buckinghamshire residence: for the former, a marble fireplace and overmantel for the library and, outside the main entrance, two bronze lamp standards decorated with putti calling each other on telephones; and for the latter, figures and groups in wood on the newel posts of the grand staircase. The importance of Frith’s teaching has tended to overshadow the excellence of his sculpture, which M.H. Spielmann considered ‘of an important order’, adding, the ‘qualities of Mr. Frith’s work are surely its freedom of line and vigour of modelling; the consideration and intelligence displayed throughout, the spirit of design, richness of effect, and the clear understanding of the virtues and the limitations of his materials’.

Sources: Beattie, S., The New Sculpture, New Haven and London, 1983; Mapping Sculpture; Spielmann, M., British Sculpture and Sculptors of To-day, London, 1901.

T. Cavanagh November 2022