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Public Statues and Sculpture Association

George Frederick Bodley (1827–1907)

Architect and designer of Scottish descent born in Hull. He was the pupil of, and then assistant to, Sir George Gilbert Scott. Bodley was primarily a church architect, working in the Gothic style, firstly drawing influence from the French thirteenth century, then, from the late 1860s, English Decorated Gothic of the first half of the fourteenth century; he also designed secular buildings in a Queen Anne style. For his earliest works, for example, All Saints, Selsley, Gloucestershire (designed 1858) –described as ‘the finest achievement of his early years’ (Michael Hall, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography) – he employed the firm of Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co for all the stained glass and decorations. During the 1870s, Bodley parted company with the firm in a drive to retain tighter personal control across all aspects of his buildings’ designs, thereafter frequently using, e.g., Rattee & Kett for woodwork, Barkentin & Krall for metalwork, and Burlison & Grylls for stained glass. In 1869, he went into an informal partnership with Thomas Garner. The partnership’s best-known designs include St Augustine, Pendlebury, Manchester (designed 1870) and Holy Angels, Hoar Cross, Staffordshire (designed 1871–72). The partnership was amicably dissolved in 1897, following Garner’s conversion to Roman Catholicism. Bodley’s final commission was for the Episcopal Cathedral, Washington, DC (designs prepared 1906–07, construction begun 1910, construction completed 1990). Bodley also designed wallpaper, textiles, vestments, and ecclesiastical fittings and furniture, for the production of which in 1874 he, Garner and George Gilbert Scott junior established Watts & Co. Bodley was elected Associate Royal Academician in 1882 and Royal Academician in 1902, and was awarded the Royal Institute of British Architects’ Gold Medal in 1899. Bodley’s pupils include C.R. Ashbee, Sir Ninian Comper and Edward Warren. Michael Hall described Bodley as ‘unquestionably the most influential architect at work in the Anglican church during the last third of the nineteenth century’.

Bibliography: T. Cavanagh, Public Sculpture of Kensington and Chelsea with Westminster South-West, Watford, 2023, pp. 339–42; T. Cavanagh, Public Sculpture of Leicestershire and Rutland, Liverpool, 2000, pp. 242–43; M. Hall, ‘Bodley, George Frederick (1827–1907)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford, 2004; M. Hall, George Frederick Bodley and the later Gothic Revival in Britain and America, New Haven and London, 2014; G.T. Noszlopy and F. Waterhouse, Public Sculpture of Staffordshire and the Black Country, Liverpool, 2005, pp. 79.

Terry Cavanagh November 2022