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Public Statues and Sculpture Association

Sir George Frampton (1860–1928)

Sculptor and craftsman, born in London. He worked first in an architect’s office, then for a firm of architectural stone carvers, before training, 1880–81, at South London Technical School of Art under W.S Frith and, 1882–87, at the Royal Academy (RA) Schools. His group, An Act of Mercy, exhibited at the RA in 1887, won him the gold medal and travelling studentship, and in 1888–90 he was in Paris, studying sculpture under Antonin Mercié. Here, at the Salon of 1889, his Angel of Death gained him a gold medal. On his return to London, he briefly worked in the studio of Joseph Edgar Boehm. In the 1890s, Frampton became interested in the Arts and Crafts movement and wrote influential articles on enamelling, woodcarving, and polychromy, etc. Two works which demonstrate his skills in combining various media, as well as his interest in French symbolism in these years, are Mysteriarch (for which he was awarded the médaille d’honneur at the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1900), in plaster, partially gilt (1892; Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool) and Lamia, in ivory, bronze and opals (1900; RA collection). Frampton was a member of the Art Workers’ Guild from 1887 and Master in 1902. He was at the forefront of the movement to reintegrate sculpture and architecture, his assured sense of architectural design clearly embodied in his sculptures for J.W. Simpson’s Glasgow Art Gallery and Museum, Kelvingrove (1897–1900); in T.E. Collcutt’s Lloyd’s Register of Shipping, City of London (1898–1901) and in Aston Webb’s Cromwell Road entrance arch for the Victoria and Albert Museum (1905–06). Frampton was elected an Associate Royal Academician 1894 and full RA 1902 (exhibiting regularly at the RA 1884–1928). In 1908 he was knighted. He was President of the Royal Society of British Sculptors, 1911–12, having been a founder member. Among his most popular works is his Peter Pan, Kensington Gardens, London, 1912 (further casts in Brussels [1924]; Newfoundland [1925]; Camden, New Jersey [1926]; and Sefton Park, Liverpool [1927]; plus two posthumous casts, Perth, Australia, and Toronto, Canada [both 1929]). Recognition brought increasing numbers of public commissions, including many for monuments to Queen Victoria (firstly at Calcutta, 1897; then variants at Winnipeg; St Helens, Lancashire; Leeds, etc). One of his most splendid private commissions is the set of silver-gilt figure panels of Arthurian heroines for the door of the Great Hall for Two Temple Place, Lord Astor’s London house, 1895–96.

Bibliography: S. Beattie, The New Sculpture, New Haven and London, 1983; T. Borenius, ‘Frampton, Sir George James (1860–1928)’, rev. A. Jezzard, ODNB, (2004) 2007; T. Cavanagh, Public Sculpture of Kensington and Chelsea with Westminster South-West, Watford, 2023, pp. 166, 167, 168, 172, 380–84; T. Cavanagh, Public Sculpture of Leicestershire and Rutland, Liverpool, 2000, pp. 300–01; T. Cavanagh, Public Sculpture of Liverpool, Liverpool, 1997, pp. 135–37, 171–73, 175–76, 182-84, 193–94, 236–37; T. Cavanagh, Public Sculpture of South London, Liverpool, 2007, pp. 216–17, 383–84; A. Jezzard, ‘The Sculptor Sir George Frampton’, unpublished PhD thesis, University of Leeds, 1999; R. McKenzie, Public Sculpture of Glasgow, Liverpool, 2002, pp. 208–09, 232–33, 237, 240, 247, 250–51, 256–59; Mapping Sculpture; D. Merritt and F. Greenacre, with K. Eustace, Public Sculpture of Bristol, Liverpool, 2011, pp. lxi, 243; E. Morris and E. Roberts, Public Sculpture of Cheshire and Merseyside, Liverpool, 2012, pp. 186–88, 209–13; Royal Academy of Arts website; J. Seddon et al, Public Sculpture of Sussex, Liverpool, 2014, pp. 74, 75–76; The Times, 22 May 1928, p. 21 (obit.); P. Usherwood et al, Public Sculpture of North-East England, Liverpool, 2000, pp. 135–36; P. Ward-Jackson, Public Sculpture of the City of London, Liverpool, 2003, pp. 101–05, 271–75; P. Ward-Jackson, Public Sculpture of Historic Westminster. Volume 1, Liverpool, 2011, pp. 228–30, 245–48, 346–47, 350–53; T. Wyke, Public Sculpture of Greater Manchester, Liverpool, 2004, pp. 176–77, 223–24, 256–57.

Terry Cavanagh February 2023

Frampton, George, Sir

Meredith Frampton, Sir George James Frampton,
oil on canvas, 1919; NPG 6339
© National Portrait Gallery, London