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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

Farmer & Brindley

A firm, based in Westminster Bridge Road, producing architectural and memorial sculpture, and church furniture and ornament, which operated also as a marble merchant. The firm’s directors, William Farmer (1823–1879), and William Brindley (1832–1919), were both from Derbyshire. Initially Farmer went into business independently, employing Brindley as a stone-carver. In the late 1860s they became partners. Their first documented work was on George Gilbert Scott’s parish church at Woolland, Dorset, consecrated in 1856. They were to produce a huge amount of work for Scott, including the decorative sculpture on the Albert Memorial. Other architects with whom they enjoyed fertile collaborations were Lockwood and Mawson, Bodley and Garner, and Alfred Waterhouse. For the latter they produced stone figures and reliefs for Manchester Town Hall, and the models for the copious terracotta decoration on the Natural History Museum in South Kensington. In all, they collaborated with Waterhouse on over 100 buildings. After Farmer’s death, the firm increased its turnover of marble, an activity in which it benefitted from Brindley’s extensive geological knowledge. Foreign sculptors known to have worked for the firm include L.-J. Chavalliaud, Jean Guillemin, and Attilio and Furio Piccirilli. British employees include the distinguished sculptors C.J. Allen and H. Bates. The firm’s sculptural magnum opus, the high-altar reredos for St Paul’s, which it carried out to designs by Bodley and Garner in 1887/88, met with hostile criticism, and was dismantled after bomb damage in 1940, though a number of features from it survived. In the twentieth century, the firm provided marble and fireplaces for R. Knott’s County Hall, and although the business continued after Brindley’s death, Farmer & Brindley was amalgamated with another firm in 1929.

Sources: Beattie, S., The New Sculpture, New Haven and London, 1983; Hall, M., ‘The Victorian high-altar reredos in St. Paul’s Cathedral’, Burlington Magazine, no. 1409, vol. 162, August 2020, pp. 646–57; Hardy, E., ‘Farmer and Brindley, Craftsmen and Sculptors, 1850–1930’, The Victorian Society Annual, 1993, pp. 4–17.

Philip Ward-Jackson February 2023

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

Henry Charles Fehr (1867–1940)

Sculptor of Swiss parentage born at Forest Hill, London. He was recommended to the RA Schools in 1885 by Horace Montford in whose studio he presumably had worked. After completing his studies, Fehr worked until c.1893 as an assistant in the studio of Thomas Brock. Fehr’s own studio, from c.1894, was in The Avenue Studios, 76 Fulham Road, South Kensington. Fehr was a member of the Art Workers’ Guild from 1896 (resigned 1902) and of the RBS from 1904 (council member 1921–23, elected FRBS 1923). He showed regularly at the RA from 1887. Fehr produced ideal works, statues and busts, but achieved his most significant works as an architectural sculptor. His Times obituarist described him as ‘above all a decorative sculptor with a taste for the florid and theatrical’, his work being ‘seen to the best advantage when applied to architecture of a baroque tendency’. Examples of this type include the coloured plaster reliefs of the Wars of the Roses in West Riding County Offices, Wakefield, 1898; the Welsh Dragon over the main dome and the Four Winds at the angles of the clocktower, Cardiff City Hall, 1904; and the friezes and figures on the former Middlesex Guildhall (now Supreme Court), Westminster, 1912–13. One of Fehr’s earliest sculptures, the colossal bronze group, Perseus Rescuing Andromeda, was purchased by the Chantrey Bequest in 1894 and is now on the right-hand balcony of Tate Britain. Fehr executed numerous war memorials, all variations on a type of a Winged Victory, generally with downturned sword in one hand and olive wreath in the other. Examples include Burton on Trent; Colchester; Eastbourne; Grangetown, South Glamorgan; Leeds; Lisburn, County Antrim; and Shepherd’s Bush, London. His bust of William Morris (1900) is in the William Morris Gallery.

Sources: Beattie, S., The New Sculpture, New Haven and London, 1983; Mapping Sculpture; The Times, 15 May 1940, p. 2 (obit.); Ward-Jackson, P., Public Sculpture of Historic Westminster, Liverpool, 2011.

Terry Cavanagh February 2023

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.

Terry Cavanagh November 2022

John Henry Foley (1818–1874)

Sculptor. Born in Dublin. His elder brother, Edward, preceded him in the sculptor’s profession. J.H. Foley entered the Royal Dublin Society’s School in 1831. He became a student at the Royal Academy in London in 1835. In 1839, his Death of Abel and Innocence were favourably received at the Royal Academy exhibition, and in the following year the Earl of Ellesmere commissioned a group of Ino and Bacchus. Following the exhibition of Youth at the Stream at the Westminster Hall Exhibition of 1844, Foley received commissions for statues of Hampden (1847) and Selden (1853) for the Houses of Parliament. During the 1850s he produced two of the most highly praised statues in the series commissioned for the Egyptian Hall of the Mansion House, Egeria (1853–55) and Caractacus (1856–59). After the death of Prince Albert, Foley created for Cambridge University a memorial statue of Albert (1866), now in the village of Madingley, Cambs. When the sculptor Marochetti, who had been given the commission for the statue of the prince for the Albert Memorial, died in 1867, the commission was given to Foley. His colossal gilt bronze statue of the prince was completed after Foley’s death by his pupil, Thomas Brock. Foley also sculpted the allegorical group, ‘Asia’, for the memorial. For his birthplace, Dublin, Foley produced the ambitious monument to Daniel O’Connell (1866). His equestrian statue of Viscount Hardinge (1858) for Calcutta was described by the Art Journal as ‘a masterpiece of art’. A later equestrian statue, also for Calcutta, of Sir James Outram (1864) was more complex and dynamic in its movement. Foley introduced a degree of naturalistic sensuality into the sculptural idiom of the day, without relaxing compositional control. He became a full RA in 1858.

Sources. Murphy, P., ‘John Henry Foley”, in Sculpture 1600–2000. Art and Architecture of  Ireland, Vol. III, Dublin, New Haven and London, 2014; Read, B., ‘John Henry Foley’, Connoisseur, August 1974; Roscoe, I., et al, A Biographical Dictionary of Sculptors in Britain 1660–1851, New Haven and London, 2009; Turpin, J.T., ‘The Career and Achievement of John Henry Foley, Sculptor (1818–1874)’, Dublin Historical Record, Vol. XXII, No. 2, March 1979, and No. 3, June 1979.

Philip Ward-Jackson 2023

John Henry Foley, photographed by Ernest Edwards, as published in Lovell Reeve, Portraits of Men of Eminence in Literature, Science and Art, vol. I, London, 1863 (photo: public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Edward Onslow Ford (1852–1901)

Born in London, he trained as a painter in Antwerp (1870) and in Munich (1871–72), where he shared a studio with the sculptor Edwin Roscoe Mullins. It was the Munich sculptor Wagmüller who persuaded Ford to take up modelling. On his return to London, Ford began to exhibit sculpture at the Royal Academy. His first important commission was for the statue of Rowland Hill (1881) for the City of London. Many more commissions for public work followed, including one for a full-length marble figure of the actor Henry Irving as Hamlet (1883), commissioned by Irving himself, and later presented by him to the Guildhall Art Gallery. Ford’s statue of General Gordon Riding a Camel (bronze, 1890, the original statue, once in Khartoum, is now at the Gordon Boys School in Woking, and another cast is at the Royal Engineers Barracks in Chatham) is a novel variant on the usual equestrian type, remarkable for the finesse of its exotic detail. Ford’s Jubilee statue of Queen Victoria for Manchester, was inaugurated there in the year of the Queen’s death. His memorial to the poet Shelley in University College, Oxford, takes the form of a tomb, with the poet’s body laid, as if washed up by the sea, on an elaborate table-like plinth, guarded by a female muse. Ford also produced a number of bronze statuettes of pubescent nude figures: Folly (1885, Tate Britain, London), The Singer (1889, Tate Britain, London), Peace (1890, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool), Echo (1895, Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight). Though he belonged to the circle known as the New Sculptors, Ford’s work is free of philosophical symbolism. He shared with the other members of the group only the desire to escape from the canons of ideal beauty adhered to by earlier Victorian sculptors. Ford was Master of the Art Workers’ Guild in 1895 and elected RA in the same year.

Sources: Beattie, S., The New Sculpture, New Haven and London, 1983; Read, B., and A. Kader, Leighton and his Sculptural Legacy 1875–1930, exh. cat. Joanna Barnes Fine Art, London, 1996.

Philip Ward-Jackson 2003

Edward Onslow Ford, published 1892 by Ralph Winwood Robinson, C. Whittingham & Co., platinum print (photo:© National Portrait Gallery, London).

Robert Forrest (1789–1852)

A stonemason and self-taught sculptor, he was born in Carluke, Lanarkshire, near the Clydesdale quarries where he worked until being ‘discovered’ by an army officer named Colonel Gordon. His first commission was for a life-size Highland Chieftain, followed by a statue of William Wallace, for Lanark (1817). Despite having acquired a secure reputation as a sculptor, in 1823 he began attending classes in drawing, modelling and anatomy in various private studios and schools, including the Trustees’ Academy in Edinburgh and Warren’s Academy in Glasgow. His education was continued in 1837 when he visited France and Italy. In 1832 he was given permission to set up a temporary exhibition hall beside the National Monument on Calton Hill, Edinburgh, to display four colossal equestrian statues of historical figures, mostly carved from single blocks of sandstone weighing upwards of twenty tons. Although the exhibition was well received, and did much to enhance his reputation as Scotland’s ‘national sculptor’, it was not a financial success, and eventually proved ruinous. His 1825 statue of John Knox, carved from a design by William Warren, was the first sculptural monument to be erected in the Necropolis of Glasgow, and his most ambitious project was the design for a statue of the Duke of Wellington, commissioned by Lord Elgin for the summit of Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh. This was to have been eighty feet tall, but remained unexecuted after Lord Elgin’s death in 1841.

Sources: Anon., ‘The Lanarkshire Sculptor’, Chambers Edinburgh Journal, no.1 (1832), pp.357–58; Descriptive Catalogue of Statuary from the Chisel of Mr Robert Forrest, Edinburgh, 1835; Forrest, R., Descriptive Account of the Exhibition of Statuary, National Monument, Calton Hill, Edinburgh, Edinburgh, 1846, passim; McKenzie, R., Public Sculpture of Glasgow, Liverpool, 2002, pp. 293–97, 484; Scottish Reformers Gazette, 4 April 1840, p.2.

Ray McKenzie, 2018

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.

T. Cavanagh November 2022

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 to be ‘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.

Terry Cavanagh November 2022