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Public Statues and Sculpture Association

Henry Poole (1873–1928)

Sculptor born in Westminster. His father (Samuel Poole) and grandfather were architectural carvers employed on churches – notably those by William Butterfield – and on the restoration at Westminster Abbey. Poole studied at the South London Technical School of Art, c.1888–91 (under W. S. Frith) and at the Royal Academy Schools, 1892–97 (in 1894 winning the Landseer Scholarship for Sculpture and a first prize of £50 and a silver medal for a set of three models of a figure from the life). During the same period, he worked as an assistant in the studios of Harry Bates and George Frederic Watts, assisting the latter with his colossal equestrian statue, Physical Energy. Poole worked chiefly as an architectural sculptor, his work situated within the neo-baroque tendency in Edwardian architecture. In 1900 he won a competition for a sculptural group, Unity and Patriotism, for the exterior of Lanchester, Stewart and Rickards’ Cardiff City Hall. Thus began a long friendship with Rickards and a fruitful working relationship with the partnership, which produced the spandrel reliefs on the Methodist Central Hall, Westminster (1905–11); high relief figures of British admirals for Deptford Town Hall (1902–07); and Painting, a porcelain figure in the centre of the façade of the Colnaghi and Obach building, New Bond Street (1913).  Poole and Rickards collaborated on the Sir Daniel Cooper Memorial Fountain, Newmarket, Suffolk (1910), and on the King Edward VII Memorial, Bristol, the latter comprising a bronze statue of the king, fronted by an elaborate fountain and flanked by couchant lions (1910–15). Work for other architects includes Michelangelesque pediment figures for H.T. Hare’s United Kingdom Temperance and General Provident Institution, The Strand, 1906 (demolished; fragments of the sculpture survive) and a series of humorous reliefs (c.1923–24) for the interior of the Black Friar Public House, Queen Victoria Street, London, part of an extensive remodelling by Herbert Fuller-Clark. In 1917, Poole was among the sculptors invited to provide marble statues of heroes from Welsh history for the interior of Cardiff City Hall, his contribution being Giraldus Cambrensis. Following the conclusion of the First World War, Poole executed the sculptural components of a number of war memorials, including the three naval memorials designed by Sir Robert Lorimer for Chatham, Plymouth and Portsmouth, each comprising a rostral column crowned with a large copper sphere supported by bronze figures of the four winds and flanked at the base by four couchant lions in stone (all 1920–24). Poole showed at the annual Royal Academy exhibitions, 1894–1928 (plus a posthumous showing of six pieces in 1929). He was elected ARA 1920, was Master of the RA’s Sculpture School, 1921–27, and elected RA in 1927, submitting as his Diploma Work a marble head entitled Young Pan, contrasting an androgynous, smoothly finished facial type with non finito effects in the surrounding surfaces. He had become a member of the Society (later Royal Society) of British Sculptors in 1905 and was, at the society’s division into Fellows and Associates in 1923, one of the 22 members elected as Fellows. He was a member of the Chelsea Arts Club from 1904 (chairman 1915–17) and a member of the Art Workers’ Guild from 1906.

Bibliography: S. Beattie, The New Sculpture, New Haven and London, 1983; Builder, 24 August 1928, pp. 288, 290; T. Cavanagh, Public Sculpture of South London, Liverpool, 2007, pp. xv, 141–43, 146–48, 241–42, 390, 391; Glasgow – City of Sculpture: ‘Henry Poole (1873–1928)’; A.S. Gray, Edwardian Architecture, London, 1985, pp. 292–93; H.V. Lanchester, ‘Henry Poole R.A. 1873–1928’, Journal of the Royal Institute of British Architects, 1928, vol. 36, pp. 18–23; R. McKenzie, Public Sculpture of Glasgow, Liverpool, 2002, pp. 231–34; D. Merritt and F. Greenacre, with K. Eustace, Public Sculpture of Bristol, Liverpool, 2011, pp. 183–92; G.T. Noszlopy and F. Waterhouse, Public Sculpture of Herefordshire, Shropshire and Worcestershire, Liverpool, 2010, p. 182; M. Quinlan, Sculptors and Architects of Remembrance, Sandy, Bedfordshire, 2007, p. 77;  Royal Academy of Arts: ‘Henry Poole RA (1873–1928)’; The Times, 16 August 1928, p. 15 (obit.); P. Ward-Jackson, Public Sculpture of the City of London, Liverpool, 2003, pp. 311, 314–16, 363, 372; Who Was Who, 2007.

Terry Cavanagh, May 2024