Sculptor. He studied at the West London School of Art, then in 1881 entered the RA Schools where he was awarded prizes in 1882, 1884, and 1886. On leaving the RA Schools he worked for four years as an assistant in Hamo Thornycroft’s studio. Pegram was a member of the AWG, 1890–1904, and was elected ARA in 1904 and RA in 1922. From 1884 to 1936 he showed 160 works at the RA summer exhibitions. In 1891, he was a founder member of the Chelsea Arts Club. Two examples of Pegram’s earlier work, in which he shows the influence of Alfred Gilbert, and which are generally considered to be among his most important, are a bronze relief, Ignis fatuus; 1889, and a marble group, Sibylla fatidica, 1904, both Chantrey Bequest purchases for the Tate Gallery. The authorship of the Monument to Ninon Michaelis,1903, Kensal Green Cemetery, was forgotten until Glenn Benson’s research in the 2000s reconnected it to Pegram; as recently as 2001 the monument’s high quality had convinced scholars that it could only be by a continental sculptor. In 1909–11, he executed a series of Portland stone figures for the exterior of Basil Champneys’ Rhodes Building, Oriel College, Oxford, including Cardinal Newman and Cecil Rhodes, the latter of which was the subject of an unsuccessful 2016 student campaign to have it removed on the grounds that the statue amounted to a celebration of British colonialism. In 1913, Pegram was one of ten sculptors selected to provide statues for Cardiff City Hall, his contribution being Llewellyn the Last Prince. Other public sculptures by Pegram include Into the Silent Land, 1905, Golder’s Green Crematorium; Sir Thomas Browne, 1905, Hay Hill, Norwich; Sir John Campbell, 1906, Auckland, New Zealand; Monument to Edith Cavell, 1917, Tombland, Norwich; the crowning ‘Victory’ figure on the Cunard War Memorial, 1921, Liverpool; and Hylas, 1922, St John’s Lodge, Regent’s Park. He was a cousin of Alfred Bertram Pegram.
Sources: Beattie, S., The New Sculpture, New Haven and London, 1983; Curl, J.S., (ed.), Kensal Green Cemetery, 2001; Mapping Sculpture; Sharp, R., ‘Pegram, Henry Alfred (1862–1937)’, ODNB, Oxford, 2004; Welsh Historical Sculpture: Welsh Historical Sculpture presented to the City of Cardiff by Lord Rhondda of Llanwern … on the 27th October 1916, Cardiff, 1916.
Terry Cavanagh November 2022
Henry Alfred Pegram, Elliott and Fry, albumen cabinet card, c. 1903 (photo: © National Portrait Gallery, London)