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Public Statues and Sculpture Association

Wilfred Edgar Dudeney (1911–1996)

A sculptor and teacher born in Leicester, his father was Leonard Dudeney, a journalist. He was educated at St Paul’s School, London, and in 1932 won a two-year, £75 per year, British Institution Scholarship to study sculpture at the Central School of Arts and Crafts. His tutor, the sculptor Alfred Turner, was a Fellow of the Royal Society of British Sculptors and in March 1939 he and Charles Wheeler successfully nominated Dudeney for Associate membership; Dudeney was himself elected a Fellow in 1952 and served as President, 1971–75. Dudeney occupied a number of teaching posts throughout his working life. In April 1938 he became a part-time assistant teacher of sculpture at the National College of Art, Dublin, but returned to England on 26 September following the outbreak of the Second World War. He served in the Royal Artillery, receiving his commission as a 2nd Lieutenant on 10 April 1942. He exhibited with the New English Art Club and the Society of Portrait Sculptors, and was an occasional contributor to the annual Royal Academy exhibitions, 1933–63, mostly with portrait heads in a variety of materials; his 1955 exhibit, a bronzed plaster head of the marathon runner Jim Peters (no. 1396) is in Valence House Museum, Dagenham. His public commissions include three sculptures in Portland stone for New Street Square, City of London, commissioned by Westminster Provincial Newspapers (The Starmer Group). Two, from 1955, are attached to R. Seifert & Partners’ Pemberton House (1954): a relief panel set into the wall commemorating the quincentenary of William Caxton’s first printed document and a kneeling male nude entitled Youth, sited to the left of the building’s entrance. The third, of 1956–58, is a group of Three Newspapermen, originally sited outside Seifert’s Newspaper House (1957–59) but moved in 2009 to Goldsmiths’ Garden, Gresham Street, following the square’s redevelopment. Of 1963 is his Boy and Ram, commissioned for a new shopping area, Main Centre, in Derby, but relocated to the city’s River Gardens when the shopping centre was demolished in 2005. Dudeney’s last teaching job was at Isleworth Polytechnic; he was residing in Blackpool at the time of his death.

Bibliography: D. Buckman, Artists in Britain since 1945 (2 vols: A–L, M–Z), Bristol, 2006; London Remembers: Three Printers statue; Mapping Sculpture; The Times: (i) 5 November 1932, p. 1 [notice of British Institution Scholarship]; (ii) 25 April 1939, p. 14 [election as Associate Member of RBS]; P. Ward-Jackson, Public Sculpture of the City of London, Liverpool, 2003, pp. xxviii, 290–91; Who’s Who in Art, 7th edn, London, 1954.

Terry Cavanagh, May 2024