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Public Statues and Sculpture Association

Ernest George Gillick (1874–1951)

Sculptor and medallist. He first attended Nottingham School of Art, the two gold medals he was awarded there helping to secure, in 1896, a scholarship to the RCA where he studied under Edouard Lantéri and gained, in 1902, a travelling scholarship to Italy. Gillick showed regularly at the RA summer exhibitions (1908–51). His two high relief figures, of Richard Cosway and J.M.W. Turner, 1905, for Aston Webb’s new frontages to the V&A building were his first important public commission. More followed: memorials to “Ouida”, 1909, Bury St Edmunds; Sir Francis Powell, 1910, Wigan; and Dr James Adam, 1912, Emmanuel College, Cambridge. In 1913, Gillick was one of ten sculptors selected to provide statues for Cardiff City Hall, his contribution being Henry VII at Bosworth Field. In 1918, he executed the pair of bronze caryatids representing Britannia and Asia for the P&O Line offices, 14–16 Cockspur Street, London. His Et Tenebris Lux for the Birmingham Hospital Centre was awarded the RBS medal in 1935 and in the same year was elected ARA. The early support Gillick received from George Frampton resulted in an abiding friendship, the younger man writing a personal memoir of Frampton in The Times (28 May 1928) following the latter’s death and designing Frampton’s memorial for the crypt of St Paul’s Cathedral, which consists of a giant toddler gazing on a miniature version of Frampton’s Peter Pan standing on the palm of his extended hand. Gillick lived in Chelsea from about 1901. In 1905 he married Mary Gaskell Tutin (d. 1965), also a sculptor and medallist. In September 1951, Gillick collapsed while dining in a restaurant in Sloane Square and died en route to hospital.

Bibliography: D. Buckman, Artists in Britain since 1945 (2 vols: A–L, M–Z), Bristol, 2006; T. Cavanagh, Public Sculpture of Kensington and Chelsea with Westminster South-West, Watford, 2023, p. 168; R. Cocke, Public Sculpture of Norfolk and Suffolk, Liverpool, 2013, pp. 203–04; Daily Mail, 26 September 1951, p. 3 (obit.); R. McKenzie, Public Sculpture of Glasgow, Liverpool, 2002, pp. 147–49; Mapping Sculpture; J. Seddon et al, Public Sculpture of Sussex, Liverpool, 2014, p. 60; The Times, 27 September 1951, p. 6 (obit.); P. Ward-Jackson, Public Sculpture of the City of London, Liverpool, 2003, pp. 289, 301, 302; Welsh Historical Sculpture presented to the City of Cardiff …, 1916; T. Wyke, Public Sculpture of Greater Manchester, Liverpool, 2004, pp. 419–21.

Terry Cavanagh November 2022