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Public Statues and Sculpture Association

Harold Wilson Parker (1896–1980)

Sculptor and medal-maker, born in Newington, south London. He studied art at, successively, Walthamstow School of Art, St Martin’s School of Art, Central School of Arts and Crafts, Sir John Cass School of Art and the RCA. From the 1940s until at least 1955 he taught at Goldsmiths’ College, his considerable skills as a teacher fondly recalled many years later by the sculptor Charlotte Mayer. His bronzed plaster standing nude Flossie remains on display at Goldsmiths’. Parker exhibited at the RA, 1925–47. He was elected ARBS 1944, FRBS 1946, Council member 1948–49, and president, 1953–58. His most famous work – albeit his authorship is scarcely known – was undoubtedly the wren design on the reverse of the farthing coin, which was commissioned in 1937 and remained in use until the coin ceased to be legal tender in 1960. His George Lansbury Memorial plaque was commissioned for Hyde Park Lido Pavilion in 1951.

Sources: Buckman, D., Artists in Britain since 1945 (2 vols: A–L, M–Z), Bristol, 2006; Flynn, T., Charlotte Mayer. In Essence (Pangolin Gallery), 2013, p. 26; Mapping Sculpture

Terry Cavanagh November 2022

(Alfred) Bertram Pegram (1873–1941)

Sculptor. He studied at the RA Schools, 1895–99, winning prizes in each year (including silver medals in 1896 and 1899), and also in Paris. He was among the sculptors selected by Aston Webb to carve relief figures for the façades of the V&A extension in 1905; Pegram’s were John Flaxman and Francis Chantrey, both Cromwell Road. His most important commission was for the bronze figures on Sir Ninian Comper’s Welsh National War Memorial, 1928, Cardiff. He also executed the Memorial to Mary Brinsmade Brown, Gunn Memorial Library, Washington, Connecticut (illus.The Studio, December 1915, p. 191). Examples of his work are in the National Museum and Gallery of Wales, Cardiff. He was an ARBS from 1905 (FRBS from 1938) and a Member of the AWG from 1906. He was a cousin of Henry Alfred Pegram.

Sources: Mapping Sculpture; Waters, G.M., Dictionary of British Artists Working 1900–1950, Eastbourne, 1975; Royal Academy of Arts website and archives.

Terry Cavanagh November 2022

Henry Alfred Pegram (1862–1937)

Sculptor. He studied at the West London School of Art, then in 1881 entered the RA Schools where he was awarded prizes in 1882, 1884, and 1886. On leaving the RA Schools he worked for four years as an assistant in Hamo Thornycroft’s studio. Pegram was a member of the AWG, 1890–1904, and was elected ARA in 1904 and RA in 1922. From 1884 to 1936 he showed 160 works at the RA summer exhibitions. In 1891, he was a founder member of the Chelsea Arts Club. Two examples of Pegram’s earlier work, in which he shows the influence of Alfred Gilbert, and which are generally considered to be among his most important, are a bronze relief, Ignis fatuus; 1889, and a marble group, Sibylla fatidica, 1904, both Chantrey Bequest purchases for the Tate Gallery. The authorship of the Monument to Ninon Michaelis,1903, Kensal Green Cemetery, was forgotten until Glenn Benson’s research in the 2000s reconnected it to Pegram; as recently as 2001 the monument’s high quality had convinced scholars that it could only be by a continental sculptor. In 1909–11, he executed a series of Portland stone figures for the exterior of Basil Champneys’ Rhodes Building, Oriel College, Oxford, including Cardinal Newman and Cecil Rhodes, the latter of which was the subject of an unsuccessful 2016 student campaign to have it removed on the grounds that the statue amounted to a celebration of British colonialism. In 1913, Pegram was one of ten sculptors selected to provide statues for Cardiff City Hall, his contribution being Llewellyn the Last Prince. Other public sculptures by Pegram include Into the Silent Land, 1905, Golder’s Green Crematorium; Sir Thomas Browne, 1905, Hay Hill, Norwich; Sir John Campbell, 1906, Auckland, New Zealand; Monument to Edith Cavell, 1917, Tombland, Norwich; the crowning ‘Victory’ figure on the Cunard War Memorial, 1921, Liverpool; and Hylas, 1922, St John’s Lodge, Regent’s Park. He was a cousin of Alfred Bertram Pegram.

Sources: Beattie, S., The New Sculpture, New Haven and London, 1983; Curl, J.S., (ed.), Kensal Green Cemetery, 2001; Mapping Sculpture; Sharp, R., ‘Pegram, Henry Alfred (1862–1937)’, ODNB, Oxford, 2004; Welsh Historical Sculpture: Welsh Historical Sculpture presented to the City of Cardiff by Lord Rhondda of Llanwern … on the 27th October 1916, Cardiff, 1916.

Terry Cavanagh November 2022

Henry Alfred Pegram Elliott and Fry, albumen cabinet card, c. 1903 (photo: © National Portrait Gallery, London).

John Birnie Philip (1824–1875)

Sculptor, born in London. He entered the Government School of Design at Somerset House in 1842 at the age of 17. His tutor, the painter J.R. Herbert, introduced him to Pugin who employed him in his wood carving department at the Houses of Parliament. Philip visited Rome, 1848–49. He enjoyed a long and fruitful collaboration with George Gilbert Scott and executed for him sculpture for church restorations, e.g., Evangelist figures and St Michael overcoming Satan tympanum relief for St Michael Cornhill, c.1856–1860; the font, reredos, and Katherine Parr Monument for St Mary’s Church, Sudeley, Gloucestershire, 1859–63; and the figures on the crossing screen (manufactured by F. Skidmore) at Lichfield Cathedral, 1859–63. He also executed sculpture for Scott’s public monuments, e.g., the Westminster Scholars Crimean War Memorial, 1859–61, Broad Sanctuary, Westminster; and the Albert Memorial, 1862–72; and also sculptures for Scott’s buildings, e.g., the spandrel reliefs (shared with H.H. Armstead) on the Colonial Office at Whitehall, 1873–75. Philip also worked for Francis Butler, modelling a figure of Peace, 1871–73, for his fountain in West Smithfield Gardens, City of London. In addition, he executed a handful of public statues: Richard Oastler, 1869, Bradford; Robert Hall, 1870, Leicester; and Colonel Akroyd, 1875, Akroydon, near Halifax. This last was completed, following Philip’s death from bronchitis, by his chief assistant modeller, Ceccardo Egidio Fucigna; other known assistants in his large studio include Robert Glassby and Edwin Roscoe Mullins. Birnie Philip lived at 1 Roehampton Place, Vauxhall Bridge Road (c.1858–c. 1863); West Pavilion, Hans Place (c.1867– c.1870); and Merton Villa, 280A King’s Road (c.1871–1875). Two oil-on-board paintings by James Digman Wingfield of the interior of his studio at Merton Villa are held at Chelsea Library. These were presented by Philip’s younger daughter, Rosalind, his executrix; his older daughter, Beatrice, was married to the architect E.W. Godwin and following his death, to the painter James McNeil Whistler. Birnie Philip is buried in Brompton Cemetery.

Sources: The Academy, 13 March 1875, p. 278 (obit. by W.M. Rossetti); Art Journal, 1 May 1875, p. 144 (obit.); ILN, 13 March 1875, p. 258 (obit.); London Reader, 10 April 1875, p. 564 (obit.); Mapping Sculpture; Oxford Art Online – Grove Art Online; Roscoe, I., A Biographical Dictionary of Sculptors in Britain 1660–1851, New Haven and London, 2009; Stocker, M., ‘Philip, John Birnie (1824–1875)’, ODNB, Oxford, 2004; Ward-Jackson, P., Public Sculpture of the City of London, Liverpool, 2003.

Terry Cavanagh November 2022

Charles James Pibworth (1878–1958)

Sculptor and painter born in Barton Regis, Gloucestershire (now part of Bristol). He studied initially at Bristol School of Art, in c.1897 winning a scholarship to the RCA and in 1899 entering the RA Schools (Landseer Scholarship 1901). Pibworth was a regular exhibitor at the RA and Royal West of England Academy (associate member of the latter from c.1904 and professional member from c.1910). He was a member of the RBS from 1907 and of the AWG from 1910. Pibworth worked chiefly as an architectural sculptor in stone and, in the first decade of the twentieth century worked frequently for the architect Charles Holden, including executing allegorical figures for the Law Society Extension, Carey Street, City of London (1902–04); relief panels of figures from English literature for Bristol Central Library (1905) and Euterpe for the Orchestral Association building, Archer Street, Westminster (1912). He was a resident of Chelsea for most of his adult life – at 14A Cheyne Row, c.1904–c.1943, and subsequently at 295 King’s Road.

Sources: Beattie, S., The New Sculpture, New Haven and London, 1983; Mapping Sculpture; Royal Academy of Arts website; Who Was Who.

Terry Cavanagh November 2022

Enzo Plazzotta (1921–1981)

Sculptor. He was born in Mestre, near Venice, and studied at the Brera Academy in Milan, where one of his tutors was Giacomo Manzù. He was active in the Partisan movement during the Second World War, and at the end of the war was commissioned by the Italian Liberation Committee to create a statuette as a token for the assistance given to the movement by British Special Forces. This work, entitled The Spirit of Rebellion, showed the young David with the head of Goliath, and was presented to the Special Forces Club. Plazzotta came to London in connection with this commission, and lived here for the rest of his life. Between 1947 and 1962 he relinquished sculpture, returning to it at first principally as a portraitist. However, his main interest was the expression of movement and vitality in human and animal bodies. Dance, and particularly ballet, is a predominant feature of his work, and some of his dance pieces possess special interest as representations of celebrity performers. Plazzotta’s religious and mythological subjects are more sombre in character. He always retained contact with Italy, and in 1967 took a studio in Pietrasanta, from which he was able to supervise the casting of his many bronzes at the Tommasi foundry. During the 1980s, following his death, three of Plazzotta’s sculptures were erected in the public domain across London; Homage to Leonardo in Belgrave Square in 1984, Jeté at 48 Millbank in 1985, and Young Dancer in Broad Court, Covent Garden in 1988. The Homage to Leonardo, taking the form of a Vitruvian Man, was originally offered to Leonardo’s Italian birthplace, Vinci, but not accepted.

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

Philip Ward-Jackson 2023

Enzo Plazzotta (photo: © courtesy of Chris Beetles Gallery, St James’s, London).

Frederick William Pomeroy (1856–1924)

Sculptor born in London. From c.1877 to 1880, he served an apprenticeship with a firm of architectural carvers, while in the evenings attending the South London Technical Art School, learning modelling under Jules Dalou and W.S. Frith. Pomeroy attended the RA Schools, 1881–85, winning, in his final year, the Gold Medal and Travelling Studentship. He travelled to France and Italy, studying in Paris under Emmanuel Frémiet and Antonin Mercié. In 1888, as one of several sculptors working under the overall supervision of his former tutor, Frith, Pomeroy executed ‘Australia’, one of four allegorical groups on Doulton & Co’s Victoria Fountain in Glasgow. He exhibited at the RA from 1885; with the Arts and Crafts Society from 1888; and was a medallist at the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1900. He executed sculpture for a number of architects, notably J.D. Sedding, in Holy Trinity, Sloane Street, Chelsea, 1890s, and E.W. Mountford, on Paisley Town Hall, 1890; Sheffield Town Hall, 1890–94; Liverpool Museum Extension and Central Technical School, 1896–1901; and the Central Criminal Court, Old Bailey, London, 1905–06 (the famous gilt bronze Justice surmounting the dome is Pomeroy’s). His portrait statues include Dean Hook, 1900, Leeds; W.E. Gladstone, 1900, Houses of Parliament; and Monsignor Nugent, 1906, Liverpool. His most famous ideal sculpture is probably Perseus (shown at the RA 1898; life-size bronze in the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff; numerous reductions). He was a Member of the AWG from 1887 (Master in 1908); was elected ARA 1906 and RA 1917; and in 1911 was a founding member of the Society of Portrait Sculptors. Pomeroy resided at 15 Kensington Square from c.1908 until his death and ran studios at 1 Wentworth Studios, Manresa Road, Chelsea, c.1892 to 1905, and 15 Douro Place, Victoria Road, Kensington, 1905–c.1910.

Sources: Beattie, S., The New Sculpture, New Haven and London, 1983; Gray, A.S., Edwardian Architecture, London, 1985; Mapping Sculpture; Stocker, M., ‘Pomeroy, Frederick William (1856–1924)’, ODNB, Oxford, 2004; Who Was Who.

Terry Cavanagh November 2022

Robert Anning Bell, Frederick William Pomeroy, 1908. Painted to mark Pomeroy’s year as Master of the Art Workers Guild. (Photo: pubic domain via Wikimedia Commons)

Donald Potter (1902–2004)

Sculptor, born at Newington, Kent. In c.1915, his family moved to Chingford, Essex. Here he joined the local scout troop and in 1919 obtained employment as a trainer at Gilwell Park, Essex, the international centre for training scoutmasters. Baden-Powell noticed Potter’s self-taught woodcarving skills and persuaded him to carve, among other things, the totem poles for the 1929 world jamboree. Potter left Gilwell in 1930 and, wanting to learn stone carving, approached Eric Gill. Gill took Potter on as an assistant and after six months accepted him as a collaborator, allocating to him many of his wood carving commissions. Potter’s experiences with Gill at Piggotts are contained in My Time with Eric Gill (1980). Potter left Piggotts in 1937 and by 1940 was art master and artist-in-residence at Bryanston School, Dorset. An inspirational teacher, his pupils included several leading designers, potters, sculptors, painters and architects of the next generation. Potter retired from teaching in 1984 and in 1997 the Don Potter Art School was inaugurated at Bryanston. In 2002, a centenary retrospective exhibition of his work was held at Dorset County Museum and on 7 June 2004, he died, aged 102. Potter’s works include a granite statue of Lord Baden-Powell, 1960, formerly outside Baden-Powell House, Queen’s Gate, Kensington, since 2021, Gilwell Park; and several commissions from the architect Richard Twentyman for sculptures at St. Martin’s, Parkfields, Wolverhampton, All Saints, Darlaston, Staffordshire, and Bushbury Crematorium, Wolverhampton. Potter also executed the Brownsea Island commemorative stone (marking the site of Baden-Powell’s first scout camp in 1907); a crucifix in walnut for the Rutland Chantry, St George’s Chapel, Windsor; and a 22-ft high Tree of Life for the grounds of Bryanston School.

Sources: MacCarthy, F., 8 June 2004 (obit.), The Guardian; Shrimpton, A., ‘Potter, Donald Steele [Don] (1902–2004)’, ODNB, Oxford, 2009.

Terry Cavanagh November 2022

Donald Potter at the opening of the Don Potter Art School, Bryanston School, Dorset, October 1997 (photo: Jpbowen, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons).

Henry Prince & Co (fl. c.1864–75)

Art bronze foundry established by Henry Prince (c.1816/17–1875), engineer. Before setting up on his own, Prince had worked in partnership with Samuel Whitehouse, operating as Prince & Whitehouse, iron founders, at the Grove Foundry, Great Guildford Street, Southwark. The partnership was dissolved by mutual consent on 31 May 1859 and on 5 October 1863 the Grove Foundry was put up for auction. At about the same date or shortly after, Prince began trading as Henry Prince & Co, art bronze founders, at the Phoenix Foundry, in nearby Ewer Street, Southwark. The earliest of Prince’s bronze castings of which we have knowledge is J.H. Foley’s statue of Father Theobald Mathew, unveiled October 1864 in Cork, Republic of Ireland. Foley clearly appreciated the result, for from this date onwards, Prince became his foundry of choice, casting Sidney Herbert (1866, Waterloo Place, London); the 7th Earl of Carlisle (unveiled 1870, Brampton, Cumbria); the Irish National Memorial to Prince Albert (1871–72, Dublin); and the central figure of Prince Albert for the Albert Memorial (1875). Prince also cast Edward Wyon’s statue of Richard Green (1866, East India Dock Road); Marshall Wood’s Richard Cobden (1866, St Ann’s Square, Manchester); Matthew Noble’s Lord Palmerston (1867, Romsey, Hampshire); John Birnie Philip’s Richard Oastler (1867, Northgate, Bradford); Charles Bell Birch’s Samuel Taylor Chadwick (unveiled 1873, Bolton); and John Mossman’s figure and reliefs for James Sellars’ Stewart Memorial Fountain (dated 1872, Glasgow) and his statue of Alexander Wilson (1873, Paisley). As became the fashion among the more successful foundries, the running of the metal became a social occasion for subscribers and distinguished guests, as exemplified in the reports of the casting of the Cobden statue (see The Standard, 19 December 1866, p. 2, which also gives a detailed account of the whole casting process itself). Prince died suddenly on 15 March 1875 at the age of 58 during the casting of Foley’s bronze figure of Prince Albert for the Albert Memorial and was buried in the churchyard at St Mary’s, Wimbledon. The foundry seems to have ceased operating after this date.

Sources: London Gazette, 31 May 1859, p. 2161; Manchester Guardian, 12 August 1875, p. 5; Morning Post, 6 August 1866, p. 5; NPG British Bronze Sculpture Founders; The Times, 19 September 1863, p. 11.

Terry Cavanagh November 2022

James Pulham & Son

Firm of landscape artists and artificial stone manufacturers. Originally known for the construction of rock gardens, grottoes and follies, they later expanded into the manufacture of fountains and a wide range of garden ornaments. There were four generations of Pulhams running the business, each one called James. The business was established by Suffolk-born James I (1793–1838) in London. On James I’s death, his son, James II (1820–1898), took over, moved the firm out to Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, and developed a hugely successful artificial stone which came to be known as Pulhamite. It was when James II’s son, James III (1845–1920), went into partnership with his father in 1865 that the firm became known as James Pulham & Son. The firm appears to have still been in business at late as c.1950.

Sources: Elliott, B., Garden History, vol. 40, no. 2 (Winter 2012), pp. 308–10; London Gardens Trust; The Pulham Legacy.

Terry Cavanagh November 2022

Pierre (or Pieter) Puyenbroeck (1804–1884)

Sculptor born in Louvain (died in Brussels). He trained with Gilles-Lambert Godecharle. In 1830, his entry for the Brussels Salon, Summer, was purchased by the Royal Park. In 1840, he established a large studio, one of the sculptors who acquired their skills there being Auguste Fraikin. The greater part of Puyenbroeck’s output was religious sculpture in various churches in Brussels; his most successful work in this field is generally held to be the Stations of the Cross in the Cathedral of SS. Michael and Gudula. For the façade of the same cathedral he carved figures of The Three Kings. Puyenbroeck also did the figures of Saint Augustine and Johannes Nepomuk on the façade of the church of Saint James on the Koudenberg. His statues for the Halle aux Draps (Lakenhalle or Cloth Hall) in Ypres were mostly destroyed during the First World War. He was a prolific portrait sculptor. In the Musées Royeaux des Beaux Arts, Brussels, are three of his marble busts: of his former master Godecharle (1837), of the painter Joseph Paelinck (1844) and of the museum’s first conservator, G.J.J. Bosschaert (after Godecharle). He executed the marble relief portrait of Emma Soyer for her monument (inaugurated 1844) in Kensal Green Cemetery and contributed a Cupid in the Rose to the 1862 International Exhibition in London.

Main sources: Oxford Art Online – Benezit Dictionary of Artists; Thieme-Becker, Allgemeines Lexikon der Bildenden Künstler von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart, vol. 27 (Piermaria–Ramsdell), Leipzig, 1933; Verbraeken, P., Living Marble. Belgian Sculptors 1800–1930 (n.d.), p. 68.

Terry Cavanagh November 2022

William Pye (b. 1938)

Sculptor born in London. He studied at Wimbledon School of Art, 1958–61, and the Royal College of Art, 1961–65, under Bernard Meadows. He subsequently taught at Central School of Art and Design, 1965–70, and Goldsmiths’ College, 1970–75, and was visiting professor at California State University, 1975–76. He made his name in the later 1960s with highly polished tubular forms in stainless steel, the most prominent example being Zemran, 1971, on the South Bank, one of a select group of post-war British sculptures awarded Grade II listing by Historic England in 2016. In the 1970s Pye explored kineticism, which had led by the early 1980s to his series of site-specific, water-based sculptures, major examples on public sites include Slipstream and Jetstream, 1987, Gatwick Airport North Terminal (ABSA Award and Art & Work Award, 1988); Sibirica, 1999, Holland Park; three pieces, 2007, in the Mariinsky Concert Hall, St Petersburg; Salisbury Cathedral font, 2008; Hypanthium, 2009, University of British Columbia Botanical Gardens, Vancouver; Vannpaviljong, 2011, Stromso Square, Drammen, Norway; Alchemilla, 2016, All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon; and Aquaverde, 2017, Grange Park, Toronto. Pye has exhibited widely both in the UK and abroad; his first solo exhibition was in 1966 (Redfern Gallery, London) and his first in the USA was in 1970 (Bertha Schaefer Gallery, New York). He was elected FRBS in 1992, honorary FRIBA in 1993, and president of the Hampshire Sculpture Trust in 2002. He was awarded the Prix de Sculpture at the 5th International Sculpture Exhibition, Budapest 1981; the Royal UENO Museum Award, Japan, 1989; and a lifetime Achievement Award from International Art Consultants, 2004.

Sources: William Pye website; William Pye: his work and his words, Sudbury, Suffolk, 2010; Who’s Who.

Terry Cavanagh November 2022

William Pye, 2014 (photo: © A.K.Purkiss)