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Public Statues and Sculpture Association

Joseph Durham (1814–1877)

Sculptor. Born in London, he was apprenticed to the sculptor John Francis, and, after becoming free, worked in the studio of Edward Hodges Baily. He first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1835. Twenty years later, the Art Journal claimed that Durham had not yet achieved celebrity. However, in 1856 his bust of Queen Victoria was presented to the Guildhall, and he received the first of two commissions for statues illustrating subjects taken from English literature, for the Mansion House. Durham was the sculptor chosen in 1858 to create the Memorial to the Great Exhibition. This eventually took the form of a statue of Prince Albert, erected in the Gardens of the Royal Horticultural Society in 1863. With its accompanying seated personifications of EuropeAsiaAfrica and America, this still stands close to its original site, behind the Royal Albert Hall. In 2019, Durham’s earlier project for this memorial, an electrotype bronze (dated 1862) of Queen Victoria as Peace, was found to be standing in Friary Park, Friern Barnet, London, where it had been erected in 1911 as a memorial to Edward VII. Durham chiefly distinguished himself with his single figures and groups of children. Some of these were of purely imaginary or literary inspiration. Others, such as Waiting his Innings (marble, 1866, Collection of the Corporation of the City of London), functioned both as genre subject and as portrait. Durham was also noted for the sculpture he provided for another distinctively Victorian monument type, the drinking fountain. He had received no formal training, and though elected an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1868, never became a full RA.

Bibliography: T. Cavanagh, Public Sculpture of Kensington and Chelsea with Westminster South-West, Watford, 2023, pp. xi, xvii, xix, 220, 347–60, 472; R. Cocke, Public Sculpture of Norfolk and Suffolk, Liverpool, 2013, pp. 212–13; E. Darby, ‘The Memorial to the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations and a missing statue of Queen Victoria’, Sculpture Journal, Vol. IX, 2003, pp. 72–89; E. Morris and E. Roberts, Public Sculpture of Cheshire and Merseyside, Liverpool, 2012, pp. 128–29; G.T. Noszlopy, Public Sculpture of Warwickshire, Coventry & Solihull, Liverpool, 2003, pp. 19–20; G.T. Noszlopy and F. Waterhouse, Public Sculpture of Herefordshire, Shropshire and Worcestershire, Liverpool, 2010, pp. 121, 122; G.T. Noszlopy and F. Waterhouse, Public Sculpture of Staffordshire and the Black Country, Liverpool, 2005, p. 76; I. Roscoe et al, A Biographical Dictionary of Sculptors in Britain 1660–1851, New Haven and London, 2009; P. Ward-Jackson, Public Sculpture of the City of London, Liverpool, 2003, pp. xxiv, xxv, 244, 252, 255–56, 303–05; P. Ward-Jackson, Public Sculpture of Historic Westminster. Volume 1, Liverpool, 2011, pp. 115–16.

Philip Ward-Jackson, 2023

Durham, Joseph

Joseph Durham, published 1878, Lock & Whitfield Sampson Low, Marston Searle and Rivington, woodburytype (photo: © National Portrait Gallery, London)