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Public Statues and Sculpture Association

Thomas John Clapperton (1879–1962)

Sculptor. Born in Galashiels, Scottish Borders, the son of a photographer, he studied at Galashiels Mechanics’ Institute (1896), Glasgow School of Art (1899–1901), South London Technical School of Art and the Royal Academy Schools (1904–05), where he was student assistant to Sir William Goscombe John. He later studied in Paris and Rome on a travelling scholarship. Returning to London, he set up studios in Chelsea and St John’s Wood, receiving commissions for the Mungo Park Memorial and Flodden Memorial in Selkirk (1913), and allegorical figures on the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff (1914–37). After war service in India, he executed war memorials at Canonbie, Dumfries and Galloway (1919), Minto, Scottish Borders (1921) and Galashiels, Scottish Borders (1925). He executed a colossal frieze for Liberty’s store in London (1926), and numerous works in New Zealand, Canada and the USA. His last important work was the 49th West Riding Reconnaissance Regiment Memorial, Wakefield Cathedral (1947). Elected an Associate of the Royal Society of British Sculptors in 1923 and Fellow in 1938, he exhibited at the Royal Academy, London, 1908 to 1946 and the Royal Scottish Academy, 1910 to 1946. He died at Upper Beeching, Sussex.

Bibliography: R. McKenzie, Public Sculpture of Edinburgh (2 vols), Liverpool, 2018, vol. 1, 126-28, 132-34; R. McKenzie, Public Sculpture of Glasgow, Liverpool, 2002, pp. 310–12; W.M. Parker, A Great Scottish Sculptor (Guernsey: Toucan Press, n.d.).

Ray McKenzie 2018