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Public Statues and Sculpture Association

Sylvia Gilley (1908–2008)

A sculptor, she initially studied at Chelsea Polytechnic but, on being introduced to the sculptor Frank Dobson in 1931, gave up her classes at the polytechnic to become an assistant in his nearby studio. She stayed until 1939 and in the year of her departure Dobson executed a watercolour head-and-shoulders portrait of her which he then gave to her as a gift. Subsequently, Gilley worked from her own studio in Chelsea, in Sydney Street. Her Esmé Percy memorial drinking fountain for dogs, 1961, is in Kensington Gardens.

Bibliography: T. Cavanagh, Public Sculpture of Kensington and Chelsea with Westminster South-West, Watford, 2023, pp. 360–61; N. Jason and L. Thompson-Pharoah, The Sculpture of Frank Dobson, London, 1994, p. 83.

Terry Cavanagh November 2022