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Public Statues and Sculpture Association

Harold Wilson Parker (1896–1980)

Sculptor and medal-maker, born in Newington, south London. He studied art at, successively, Walthamstow School of Art, St Martin’s School of Art, Central School of Arts and Crafts, Sir John Cass School of Art and the Royal College of Art. From the 1940s until at least 1955 he taught at Goldsmiths’ College, his considerable skills as a teacher fondly recalled many years later by the sculptor Charlotte Mayer. His bronzed plaster standing nude Flossie remains on display at Goldsmiths’. Parker exhibited at the Royal Academy, 1925–47. He was elected an Associate of the Royal Society of British Sculptors in 1944, a Fellow in 1946, Council member, 1948–49, and president, 1953–58. His most famous work – albeit his authorship is scarcely known – was undoubtedly the wren design on the reverse of the farthing coin, which was commissioned in 1937 and remained in use until the coin ceased to be legal tender in 1960. His George Lansbury Memorial plaque was commissioned for Hyde Park Lido Pavilion in 1951.

Bibliography: D. Buckman, Artists in Britain since 1945 (2 vols: A–L, M–Z), Bristol, 2006; T. Cavanagh, Public Sculpture of Kensington and Chelsea with Westminster South-West, Watford, 2023, pp. 311–14; R. Cocke, Public Sculpture of Norfolk and Suffolk, Liverpool, 2013, p. 21; T. Flynn, Charlotte Mayer. In Essence (Pangolin Gallery), 2013, p. 26; Mapping Sculpture.

Terry Cavanagh November 2022