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Public Statues and Sculpture Association

Joseph Crosland McClure (c. 1871–1940)

Sculptor and teacher born in Higher Broughton, Manchester. He taught modelling at Liverpool School of Art and worked as an assistant to the Liverpool sculptor, Charles John Allen, notably on the latter’s decorative sculpture scheme for Everard & Pick’s Pare’s Bank, Leicester, 1900–01. By 1905, McClure had moved to Leicester, teaching at Leicester School of Art and working independently as a sculptor. By c.1911 he had a studio in Kensington, London. He showed small-scale sculptures, medallions and jewellery, 1900–14, at the Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts (seven times), the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool (eleven times), and the Royal Academy, London (eighteen times). Work dried up for McClure in the post-First World War years and he moved for a while to Calgary, Canada, where he found work as a barman. He later returned to England, dying in north London. While in Canada he told a newspaper reporter that his last important commission had been a statue of King George V in coronation robes for Madras (Chennai), India (for which he had been granted sittings at Buckingham Palace). McClure’s other commissions include stone figures of Truth and Wisdom, c.1905–06, for H.H. Thomson’s St Alban’s church, Leicester; a bronze relief of a soul being received into Heaven for a memorial tombstone to James Simpson (d. 1907), All Saints churchyard, Branksome Park, Poole, Dorset (stolen c.2017); decorative sculpture for the frontage of Stockdale Harrison’s Stamford, Spalding & Boston Banking Co building, Leicester, 1907; the Leicestershire South African War Memorial, 1908–09, Leicester; and two pairs of sculptural groups, The Music of the Woods and The Music of the Sea, and The Soul of Music and Municipal Beneficence, 1910–14, for Stockdale Harrison’s Usher Hall, Edinburgh. Examples of McClure’s work are also in Leicester Museum and Art Gallery (Portrait bust of Mrs Mary Stanion) and the Walker Art Gallery (Sunrise, Morning and Evening).

Bibliography: Architects’ Journal, 8 September 1920, pp. 261–62; T. Cavanagh, Public Sculpture of Leicestershire and Rutland, 2000, pp. 100–01, 157–66; J. Gifford et al, Edinburgh (The Buildings of Scotland), Harmondsworth, 1984; M. Hill et al, Dorset (The Buildings of England), New Haven and London, 2018, p. 468 (sculptor here erroneously named ‘Grassland McClure’); J. Johnson and A. Greutzner, The Dictionary of British Artists 1880–1940, Woodbridge, 1976; R. McKenzie, Public Sculpture of Edinburgh (2 vols), Liverpool, 2018, vol. 1, pp. 44–45; Mapping Sculpture; The Studio: (i) vol. xxiv, no. 104, November 1901, p. 137; (ii) vol. xxxiv, no. 146, May 1905, p. 351.

Terry Cavanagh December 2023