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Public Statues and Sculpture Association

Vernon Hill (1887–1972)

Sculptor, draughtsman, illustrator and lithographer, born in Halifax, Yorkshire. He was resident in London from about 1908, working for the publisher John Lane, illustrating, for example, The Arcadian Calendar, 1910, and Stephen Phillips’s The New Inferno, 1911. After the First World War, he worked chiefly as a sculptor, much of his most important work being for Sir Edward Maufe: for example, Guildford Cathedral, 1932–56, executing, inter alia, the memorial to John Harold Greig over the inside of the sacristy door, the figure of St Ursula over the inside of St Ursula’s porch, and the bronze reliefs on the doors of the south entrance; St Thomas the Apostle, Hanwell, 1934, where he carved the doves over the north door, and within, a Virgin and Child and a font; St John’s College, Cambridge, where he carved a coat-of-arms for the north court, 1938–40; St Columba’s Church of Scotland, Pont Street, Chelsea, where he executed all the decorative carving, plus a figure of the saint over the main entrance, 1950–54; and the Runnymede Air Forces Memorial, where he carved stone figures representing Courage, Victory and Justice (completed 1953). Hill also executed six figures for the interior of John Edward Dixon-Spain’s St Joan of Arc RC church at Farnham, 1930: St Joan of ArcSt George; St Joseph and the Holy Childthe Virgin and ChildSt Margaret; and St Catherine. Hill was included in the Fine Art Society’s 1986 exhibition, ‘Sculpture in Britain Between the Wars’. In 1972, the artist’s widow bequeathed to the Southampton City Art Gallery a large collection of her husband’s drawings and etchings.

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, pp. 78, 79; F. Lloyd et al, Public Sculpture of Outer South and West London, Liverpool, 2011, pp. 71–72; Mapping Sculpture; relevant volumes from Pevsner’s ‘Buildings of England’ series.

Terry Cavanagh November 2022