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Public Statues and Sculpture Association

Theo Crosby (1923–1994) and Polly Hope (1933–2013)

Theo Crosby was a South African-born architect, designer, writer and founder member of the Pentagram Design Group. He began as a modernist architect, but later questioned the quality, social adequacy and ideology of the vast post-war building programmes. He became a member of the Preservation Policy Group, which established basic conservation studies and some essential legislation. He was architect to the Globe Theatre project for twenty-five years, sharing with Sam Wanamaker a vision of the Globe helping to revitalise the area and developing bonds with the local community. In 1990, he married Polly Hope (for both, their second marriage). Born June Mary Anne Stockwell, Hope studied at Heatherley School of Fine Art, Chelsea Polytechnic and the Slade School of Art. She was a painter, illustrator, sculptor, ceramicist, set designer and writer, and exhibited internationally from 1958 in both solo and group exhibitions. In 1969, her first novel, Here (Away from It All), published under the pseudonym Maryann Forrest, garnered praise from Anthony Burgess. She executed many portraits, including one of Roy Strong in 1985 (employing yarn, fur, wax, applied work, painted wood and glass; V&A, museum number: T.465-1985). Her decorative work for the Globe Theatre included, in 1991, a bronze sculpture of Midsummer Night’s Dream, and, in 1997, a 20-metre ceramic mural with four corner sculptures on a zodiac theme. Examples of her work are in the Government Art Collection: Transport, Bangladesh (silk on linen), and Birds and Animals of Bangladesh (terracotta relief panel), both 1990.

Bibliography: T. Cavanagh, Public Sculpture of Kensington and Chelsea with Westminster South-West, Watford, 2023, pp. 285–87; T. Cavanagh, Public Sculpture of South London, Liverpool, 2007, pp. 260-61; ‘Obituary: Professor Theo Crosby’, Independent, 15 September 1994; A. Powers, ‘Crosby, Theo (1925–1994), designer and architect; also including June Mary Anne Hope (1933–2013)’, ODNB, 2011; Polly Hope, Jobbing ArtistThe Times: (i) 21 September 1994, p. 21; (ii) 13 July 2009, p. 11; (iii) 14 December 2013, p. 95.

Terry Cavanagh November 2022