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Public Statues and Sculpture Association

Laurens van der Meulen (1645–1719)

Also Laurence Vandermuelen and Laurens de Malines. Sculptor originating in Malines, Low Countries. He came to London in 1675 and worked for Grinling Gibbons. He is one of several ‘servants to Mr. Grinling Gibbons, the carver’, named in a ‘License to Forainers employed at Windsor to remain here wth. out molestation’, dated 16 November 1678. George Vertue records that van der Meulen was employed alongside Pierre van Dieveot on Gibbons’ statue of King James II and that the two of them returned to the Low Countries in ‘the troubles of the Revolution’ (1688–89).

Sources: Roscoe, I., A Biographical Dictionary of Sculptors in Britain 1660–1851, New Haven and London, 2009; Vertue, G., Vol. IV, Walpole Society, no xxiv, 1935/36, p. 50; Ward-Jackson, P., Public Sculpture of Historic Westminster. Volume 1, Liverpool, 2011.

Terry Cavanagh November 2022

Imre Varga (1923–2019)

Sculptor born in Siófok, Hungary. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts, Budapest, 1950–56, under Pál Pátzay and Sándor Mikus. The first work which attracted attention was Prometheus in 1965. He had his first solo exhibition in Budapest in 1967. In 1973, he won the Kossuth Prize and in 1982, the Herder Prize. Since 1983, his work has been permanently exhibited in Laktanya Street, Óbuda, Budapest. In 1984, he exhibited at the Venice Biennale. In 2003, he was awarded the Society of Portrait Sculptors’ Jeanne Masson-Davidson silver medal. Varga’s principal works are his statues of Béla Bartók – a model with casts in Budapest and in Makó, Hungary, 1981; in Square Béla Bartók, Paris, 1982; Old Brompton Road, South Kensington, 2004; and Koerner Hall, Toronto, 2005 – and another with a cast in Place d’Espagne, Brussels, 1995. In addition, all in Hungary, are his Women with Umbrellas in Obuda, Budapest; La Charogne, a sculpture inspired by Baudelaire’s poem of the same name in Siófok; and his statues of the president of the first republic of Hungary, Mihály Károlyi, in Budapest, of the poet Lőrinc Szabó in Miskolc, and of the painter Gyula Derkovits in Szombathely. He also executed a Holocaust Memorial for Budapest, a relief depicting St Stephen for the crypt of St Peter’s, Rome, and a statue of Raoul Wallenberg for Tel Aviv, Israel.

Sources: information supplied by Malcolm Rudland, Peter Warlock Society (7 March 2018); Wikipedia.

Terry Cavanagh November 2022

Varga, Imre

Imre Varga, 2004 (photo: Varga.lukacs; public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Václav Vokolek (b. 1947)

Czech writer and artist. He is the author of over 40 books of poetry and prose, and in 1994 was one of the founders of the Triáda publishing house. Since 1995, he has taught art history at the Prague Higher School of Professional Journalism.

Sources: ‘Czech Garden Corner’, 31 March 2016, Embassy of the Czech Republic in LondonWikipedia (in Czech).

Terry Cavanagh November 2022

Vokolek, Václav

Václav Vokolek (photo: Italienis, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Charles Francis Annesley Voysey (1857–1941)

Architect and designer born in Hessle, Yorkshire, the eldest son of the Revd Charles Voysey, the founder of the Theistic Church. The family moved to London in 1871 and in 1874 Voysey was articled to the Gothic revival architect, J.P. Seddon; in 1880, he became an assistant to George Devey, a designer of large country houses, and in 1881 set up in independent practice. With a dearth of commissions for houses, his initial income came from designing wallpaper and textiles much influenced by the work of Arthur Mackmurdo and William Morris. In 1884 Voysey was elected a member of the Art Workers’ Guild (Master in 1924). In December 1888, his design for a cottage, published by the British Architect, finally attracted clients. Thereafter his reputation grew rapidly; he regularly exhibited his building, furniture and decorative designs with the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society and at the RA, and his house designs were published with increasing frequency in journals both in the UK and abroad. For his houses he rejected period styles and, aligning himself with the ideas of Pugin and Ruskin, produced designs not just for the structures – which must be well-built, with clean, simple lines, clear plans, and within an English vernacular tradition – but for all the fixtures and furnishings within them. The taste for Voysey’s houses began to dwindle around 1906, with the rising fashion for classical architecture, and after 1914 he received very few commissions. Among his few executed works in these years are two war memorials, Malvern Wells, Worcestershire (1919) and St John’s churchyard, Potters Bar, Hertfordshire (1920) and a reredos (1927) for Culbone church, Somerset. Despite the downturn in his fortunes, he was finally elected FRIBA in 1929 and awarded the gold medal for architecture in 1940. He published only one book, Individuality (1915), and one pamphlet, Reason as the Basis of Art (1906).

Sources: Briggs, M.S., ‘Voysey, Charles Francis Annesley (1857–1941)’, rev. W. Hitchmough, ODNB, Oxford, 2004; British Architect, 7 December 1888, pp. 401, 405; Oxford Art Online – Grove Art OnlineThe Times, 13 February 1941, p. 7 (obit.); The C.F.A. Voysey Society website.

Terry Cavanagh November 2022

Voysey, Charles Francis Annesley

Charles Francis Annesley Voysey, Lafayetter, 1932, half-plate film negative (photo: © National Portrait Gallery, London)