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Public Statues and Sculpture Association

Louis-Auguste Malempré (c.1820–1888)

Sculptor, born in Antwerp, but who lived and worked in London from c.1852. He is supposed to have worked as an assistant to both William Theed II and Henri de Triqueti. He exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1852 to 1879. A marble statue by him of A Nymph with a Messenger Dove, signed and dated 1857, was sold at Sotheby’s (14 May 1999). He modelled a number of statuettes for production by the firm of Copeland in their ‘statuary porcelain’, some of which were commissioned as prizes for the art lotteries of the Crystal Palace Art Union. Malempré appears to have had contacts with the worlds of theatre and opera. In 1873 he showed at the RA busts of the Irish playwright, Dion Boucicault, and of the opera-singer, Mme Nilsson, and in the following year a statue of William Michael Balfe, ‘the Irish Bellini’, which now stands in the vestibule of the Drury Lane Theatre. Malempré also executed the memorial to Balfe in Westminster Abbey. In 1885, the sculptor Richard Belt was commissioned to carve replicas of the much deteriorated statuary on Francis Bird’s Monument to Queen Anne in St Paul’s Churchyard; following Belt’s arrest and imprisonment for conspiracy to obtain money by false representations in March 1886, Malempré was engaged to superintend the completion of the carving.

Bibliography: P. Atterbury (ed.), The Parian Phenomenon, Shepton Beauchamp, 1989; T. Cavanagh, Public Sculpture of Kensington and Chelsea with Westminster South-West, Watford, 2023, p. xviii; Mapping Sculpture; P. Ward-Jackson, Public Sculpture of the City of London, Liverpool, 2003, pp. xxiv, 374–81.

Philip Ward-Jackson, 2003; revised Terry Cavanagh, May 2024