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Public Statues and Sculpture Association

Charles Beacon (1870–1929)

Sculptor born in Walworth, Surrey (now south London). He attended the Royal Academy (RA) Schools, 1892–97, winning, in 1895, a first prize of £30 for a model of a design and a second prize of £20 for a set of three models of a figure from the life and, in 1896, a first prize of £50 and a silver medal for a set of three models of a figure from the life. He exhibited infrequently at the RA, showing ten works in the years 1897–1926, comprising portraits, animals and mythological subjects; his Orpheus relief (no 1945) was illustrated in Academy Architecture and Architectural Review, vol. 14 (1898). In 1898 he was elected a member of the Art Workers’ Guild and in 1906, a member of the (Royal from 1911) Society of British Sculptors (as nominated by William Hamo Thornycroft and seconded by Frank Lynn Jenkins). He lived and worked in London until c.1913 when he relocated to Bushey, Hertfordshire; the Bushey Museum and Art Gallery holds a small collection of his works: Margaret, Janet and Ronald: The Children of Gilmour Brown, relief in copper and silver plate, 1900 (a beaten tin version was shown at the 1900 RA, no. 2007); Girl in a Hooded Cloak with a Dog, metal, and Girl in a Hooded Cloak with a Cat, bronzed plaster, 1910; and Polar Bear with a Salmon, marble, 1926. His plaster bust of Edward B. Dawson (RA 1905, no. 1711) is in Lancaster City Museum. Beacon’s public sculptures include carved heraldic beasts on the façade of Murray & Foster’s Rotherhithe Town Hall (1895–97; demolished 1974) and relief carvings above the cloister entrances of Arthur E. Bartlett’s Church of the Holy Trinity and St Mary, Dodford, Worcestershire (1907–08).

Bibliography: Art UK: Charles Beacon c.1870–1929; A. Brooks and N. Pevsner, Worcestershire (The Buildings of England), New Haven and London, (2007), 2018, p. 257; T. Cavanagh, Public Sculpture of South London, Liverpool, 2007, p. 390; Mapping Sculpture; Royal Academy of Arts: Charles Beacon.

Terry Cavanagh, April 2024