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Public Statues and Sculpture Association

Frederick Thomas Callcott (1853–1923)

Sculptor born in the parish of St Clement Danes, London. His younger brother was the architect, Charles William Callcott. He studied at Royal Academy (RA) Schools and in 1879 was awarded a gold medal for a composition in sculpture and a silver medal for a model of a figure from the life. He exhibited at the RA annual exhibitions, 1878–1921, his works comprising mainly portrait busts, with, before the turn of the century, a sprinkling of biblical, mythological, literary and genre subjects. He also contributed to the Autumn Exhibitions at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, and exhibited with the Royal Society of British Artists. His one appearance at the Paris Salon was in 1898 with a bronze group, Going to School (a work he had shown at the 1889 RA exhibition). The Jolly Gardeners Pub (1890), in Black Prince Road, south London, has painted plaster reliefs (reflecting the pub’s name) over its two corner entrances, which Mark Girouard has attributed to Callcott. A documented work is his memorial commemorating the loss of the nine-man crew of the surf boat, ‘Friend to All Nations’, which capsized while answering a distress call on 2 December 1897; the memorial was unveiled on Marine Terrace, Margate, on 4 October 1899. In 1905 Callcott was one of the second wave of sculptors invited to become members of the newly formed Society (later Royal Society) of British Sculptors; although he failed to take up the invitation at this time, he eventually became a member in 1911, following his nomination by Thomas Stirling Lee, seconded by William Silver Frith.  From c.1904 until shortly before his death in 1923, Callcott contributed relief panels to H. Fuller-Clark’s remodelling of the interiors of the Black Friar public house in the City of London: all in copper on backgrounds of variegated marbles, they are, in the main saloon bar, over the bar, Tomorrow will be Friday, and over the fireplace, Carols flanked by panels of Summer and Winter; in the public bar, over the bar, Saturday Afternoon; and on the screen wall between the main saloon bar and the small saloon bar, a repeat (but with figures more closely bunched) of Saturday Afternoon, above a pair of panels showing a Friar with an Hour Glass and a Friar Preparing to Boil an Egg.

Bibliography: T. Cavanagh, Public Sculpture of South London, Liverpool, 2007, p. 37; M. Girouard, Victorian Pubs, London, 1975, p. 155; Mapping Sculpture; P. Ward-Jackson, Public Sculpture of the City of London, Liverpool, 2003, pp. 311, 312–14, 453.

Terry Cavanagh, May 2024