Skip to main content

Public Statues and Sculpture Association

Susan Durant (1827–1873)

Sculptor, born in Devon. After taking lessons in studios in Rome, and studying in Paris with the romantic sculptor, Henri de Triqueti, she set up her own studio in London in 1847. Thereafter Durant exhibited a number of ideal and imaginary subjects at the Royal Academy. The only work of this type by her known today is her Faithful Shepherdess (1863) commissioned for the Egyptian Hall of the Mansion House, but she exhibited The Chief Mourner and Belisarius at the Great Exhibition in 1851, and lent a statue of Robin Hood to the Manchester Art Treasures Exhibition in 1857. After Prince Albert’s death she was introduced, probably by Triqueti, to Queen Victoria, and became sculpture instructor to the young Princess Louise. She contributed a series of high-relief portrait medallions of members of the Royal Family to Triqueti’s mural decorations in the Albert Memorial Chapel at Windsor (1866–69). In 1867 she was commissioned to sculpt a memorial to King Leopold of the Belgians for St George’s Chapel, Windsor. Queen Victoria finally took against Durant and her work, and the memorial to King Leopold was removed to the parish church at Esher. Durant also produced portrait busts, including one of the novelist Harriet Beecher Stowe (marble, c.1863, Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, Hartford, Conn.). Her last known work is a high-relief portrait of Nina Lehmann (marble and inlay, 1871, private collection), in which she followed the example of Triqueti in using coloured marbles to frame the white marble image of the young woman.

Bibliography: Dictionary of Women Artists, London and Chicago, 1997 (entry by S. Hunter Hurtado); A. Garrichy, ‘Durant, Susan’, ODNB, (2004), 2011; Mapping Sculpture; I. Roscoe et al, A Biographical Dictionary of Sculptors in Britain 1660–1851, New Haven and London, 2009, pp. 385–88; P. Ward-Jackson, Public Sculpture of the City of London, Liverpool, 2003, pp. 244, 256–57.

Philip Ward-Jackson, 2003; updated Terry Cavanagh April 2024