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Public Statues and Sculpture Association

Carlo Magnoni (c.1871–1961)

Sculptor, carver, playwright and anarchist. Born in Brescia, Italy, he was in London from 1901. Magnoni is known to have carved for Thomas Brock, although it has not been possible to find any specific examples. He also carved for Onslow Ford, the statue of T.H. Huxley (1900), Natural History Museum; and for Henry Fehr, the carvings on the Victoria Railway Station frontage (1909–10) and probably the Middlesex Guildhall, Parliament Square (1912–13), and the war memorials at Leeds (1922), Colchester (1923), and Burton upon Trent (1922). Magnoni also carved a portrait bust of Sante Caserio (the Italian anarchist who in 1894 had assassinated the President of France, Sadi Carnot) which he submitted to the 1906 Royal Academy and which, unsurprisingly, they rejected. He also carved the figures on the Waggoner’s Memorial, Sledmore, Yorkshire (1919–20), designed by Lieutenant Colonel Sir Mark Sykes. Two of his plays, both socio-political dramas, ‘I delitti delle comari’ and ‘Gli Irredenti’, were performed in the Club Cooperativo italiano, Greek Street, in 1915 and 1917 respectively. Magnoni is recorded as residing in Bywater Street, Chelsea, in 1901, Bovingdon Road, Fulham, in 1911, and in 1954, the date in which his naturalisation as a British citizen is recorded in The London Gazette, Bernard Gardens, Wimbledon.

Bibliography: S. Burch, ‘United Enemies’ (Blog), 15 November 2011; Historic England official list entries: (i) Burton upon Trent war memorial; (ii) Colchester war memorialLondon Gazette, 18 May 1954, p. 2931; Mapping Sculpture; Natural History Museum archives, ‘Statues 1927–1947’ (DF ADM/1004/700, 23, 95); Pietro di Paolo, The Knights Errant of Anarchy: London and the Italian Anarchist Diaspora (1880-1917), Oxford, 2013, pp. 94n10, 99n32, 174–75, 194; The Sledmere War Memorial.

Terry Cavanagh November 2022