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Public Statues and Sculpture Association

Richard Ledward (1857–1890)

Sculptor and teacher of modelling, born at Burslem, Staffordshire. He was first employed as a modeller by the Burslem firm, Pinder, Bowne & Co, and studied at Burslem School of Art. After obtaining a national scholarship, he went on to the National Art Training School, South Kensington; here he obtained a gold medal for modelling from life and was appointed assistant master of modelling. He afterwards became modelling master at the Westminster and Blackheath schools of art. From 1888, he was a member of the Art Workers’ Guild. He exhibited at the Royal Academy 12 times between 1882 and 1890, all portrait busts, mostly in terracotta, some in marble. His terracotta panels, Music and Visual Arts, decorate the porch of Queen Alexandra’s House, accommodation for female students of the National Art Training School. In the 1889 Arts and Crafts Exhibition, the architect John Sedding showed a drawing of his design for the pulpit at Holy Trinity, Sloane Street, the listing in the catalogue (no. 851, p. 263) indicating that the bronze panels were to be executed by Ledward. Tragically, the work was never carried out, as the sculptor died the following year, aged only 33, following a two-week bout of rheumatic fever. Ledward’s sudden death left his wife destitute with four children to raise. A measure of Ledward’s popularity is evidenced by the raising of the ‘Ledward Fund’ to provide assistance for his family, organised by Sir Philip Cunliffe-Owen, director of the South Kensington Museum, John Sparkes, director of the National Art Training School, and some of the most prominent sculptors of the day. At the time of his death, Ledward and his family were living in Beaufort Street, Chelsea. He was the father of Gilbert Ledward and father-in-law of Newbury Abbot Trent.

Bibliography: Art Journal, 1 December 1888, pp. 26, 27 (review of the Glasgow International Exhibition and photograph of Ledward’s bust of Sir Philip Cunliffe-Owen, described by the critic as ‘an excellent likeness’); T. Cavanagh, Public Sculpture of Kensington and Chelsea with Westminster South-West, Watford, 2023, pp. 327–28; Glasgow Herald, 12 November 1890, p. 7; Mapping Sculpture; C. Moriarty, ‘Ledward, Gilbert (1888–1960)’, ODNB, Oxford, 2004; Pall Mall Gazette: (i) 26 November 1890, p. [1]; (ii) 10 December 1890, p. 2.

Terry Cavanagh November 2022