Sculptor, born at Northwood, Middlesex, of Huguenot descent. Aumonier’s father and grandfather, both named William, were also sculptors. His grandfather (‘William I’) founded William Aumonier & Son, specialising in architectural sculpture, in 1876 (for Aumonier’s father, ‘William II’, see below). Aumonier studied at Central School of Arts and Crafts, and although he joined the family firm in the early 1920s he was working independently by the end of that decade. He was a member of the AWG from 1950. His major commissions include the South Wind relief on the London Underground Headquarters, St James’s Park, c.1929; two terracotta panels on East Sheen cinema, 1930; two plaster reliefs, Industries of the British Isles and British Empire Industries, for the foyer of the Daily Express building, Fleet Street, 1932; a bas relief, Hygieia and the Nine Muses, 1933, for Hall, Easton and Robertson’s Nurses’ Home at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children; the Royal Arms for the British Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair, 1939; The Archer, a figure in lead and wood for the roof of East Finchley Underground Station, 1939–40; the White Knight for the Festival of Britain, South Bank, 1951; and giant nursery rhyme figures for the Food Fair, Olympia, 1960. Aumonier also produced set work for the cinema, most memorably for the 1946 Powell and Pressburger film A Matter of Life and Death, in which he created a giant moving staircase with figures from history moving towards heaven. He and his wife emigrated to New Zealand in the early 1960s and he gave up sculpture due to arthritis in 1968.
Bibliography: D. Buckman, Artists in Britain since 1945 (2 vols: A–L, M–Z), Bristol, 2006; T. Cavanagh, Public Sculpture of Kensington and Chelsea with Westminster South-West, Watford, 2023, p. 257; R. Cocke, Public Sculpture of Norfolk and Suffolk, Liverpool, 2013, p. 21; F. Lloyd et al, Public Sculpture of Outer South and West London, Liverpool, 2011, p. 302; Mapping Sculpture.
Terry Cavanagh November 2022