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Public Statues and Sculpture Association

Charles J. Samuel Kelsey (1820–1888)

A son of the architectural sculptor James Kelsey, he started out in his father’s workshop, assisting him on the external architectural sculpture for Harvey Lonsdale Elmes’s St George’s Hall, Liverpool (1843–46). Following Elmes’s death in 1847, Kelsey worked in his own right for Elmes’s successor at St George’s Hall, C.R. Cockerell, preparing models for the ceiling of the great hall (1852) and executing decorative works in the small concert room (1854–55). Kelsey had first exhibited at the Royal Academy (RA) in 1840 and in 1843 entered the RA Schools on the recommendation of the painter William Etty, winning a silver medal in 1845. In 1844, he had submitted two statues, Earl of Shrewsbury and Venerable Bede, to the Westminster Hall exhibition. In 1846, the Society of Arts awarded him a silver medal for a design for an admission ticket to the Society’s rooms. His earliest known independent commission was in 1848 for the sculpture above the doorway of the Royal Insurance Building, Liverpool (demolished). In 1868, he carved four seated allegories for Horace Jones’s Smithfield Market building and in 1880 modelled a bronze relief for the same architect’s Temple Bar Memorial in The Strand. Although living mostly in central London (and occasionally Liverpool), immediately before the probable date of his wall monument to Anne Middleton Corbould and her eldest son, Ridley, in St Mary Abbot’s Church, Kensington (Ridley died in 1878), Kelsey gave his address as 1 Robert (now Sydney) Street, Chelsea.

Bibliography: Builder, 22 July 1882, p. 216; T. Cavanagh, Public Sculpture of Kensington and Chelsea with Westminster South-West, Watford, 2023, p. 226; T. Cavanagh, Public Sculpture of Liverpool, Liverpool, 1997, pp. 259, 292, 295–96, 303; Mapping Sculpture; 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. 179, 207, 329, 395, 436.

Terry Cavanagh November 2022