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Public Statues and Sculpture Association

Benjamin Creswick (1853–1946)

Born in Sheffield, he was apprenticed to a knife-grinder. Health problems obliged him to relinquish this profession. He was inspired after a visit to John Ruskin’s Walkley Museum to emulate the drawn and modelled exhibits. He made contact with Ruskin and worked under his supervision at Coniston and Oxford. By 1884 Creswick had opened a London studio, and around this time began an association with A.H. Mackmurdo’s arts and crafts organisation, the Century Guild. The Guild’s Magazine, The Century Guild Hobby Horse, in 1887 advertised his services in ‘carving and modelling for terracotta or plasterwork’. In the same year, he completed his ambitious frieze of cutlers at work for Cutlers’ Hall in the City of London. Raffles Davison of the magazine British Architect, who had already praised Creswick’s work, found that the sculptor had reached new heights in this frieze. Creswick then worked briefly in Liverpool and Manchester, before taking up the post of Master of Modelling and Modelled Design at the Birmingham School of Art in 1889. Creswick produced a great deal of architectural sculpture for Birmingham buildings, and proved an inspiring teacher. He retired from his post in 1918, though he continued to accept private commissions.

Bibliography (updated 2023): S. Beattie, The New Sculpture, New Haven and London, 1983, p. 241; ‘An English Sculptor’, British Architect, 22 April 1887, vol. 27, p. 303; T. Cavanagh, Public Sculpture of Kensington and Chelsea with Westminster South-West, Watford, 2023, pp. 36–37; D. Merritt and F. Greenacre, with K. Eustace, Public Sculpture of Bristol, Liverpool, 2011, pp. 216–17; E. Morris and E. Roberts, Public Sculpture of Cheshire and Merseyside, Liverpool, 2012, pp. 222–24; G.T. Noszlopy, Public Sculpture of Birmingham, Liverpool, 1998, pp. 46–47, 82, 86–87, 90, 91, 118, 126, 138, 158, 159; P. Ward-Jackson, Public Sculpture of the City of London, Liverpool, 2003, pp. 429–31; D. White and E. Norman, Public Sculpture of Sheffield and South Yorkshire, Liverpool, 2015, pp. 116–17.

Philip Ward-Jackson 2003

Creswick, Benjamin

Benjamin Creswick (photo: public domain)