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Public Statues and Sculpture Association

John Ravera (1941–2006)

Sculptor mainly of figurative works, born in Surrey. He studied at Camberwell School of Art, 1957–62, where one of his tutors was the Czech-born sculptor Karel Vogel. Upon completion of his studies, Ravera worked as an assistant in the studios of, successively, Frederick Mancini, Oscar Nemon and Uli Nimptsch. While with Nemon he assisted on his employer’s statue of Winston Churchill, 1962, for Westerham, Kent, and while with Nimptsch on his statue of Lloyd George, 1963, for the House of Commons. Ravera worked for many years from a studio in Bexleyheath, south-east London, where he produced sculpture not only in clay and bronze, but also in a range of materials including cement, resin and fibreglass. Although he had his own casting facilities, for larger works he generally used Meridian, a commercial foundry based in Peckham. He taught sculpture at Woolwich Adult Education Centre and at the Sidcup Art Centre. In 1976 he was elected to the Royal Society of British Sculptors (RBS), serving as president 1987–90; he was also a member of the Art Worker’s Guild and the Society of Portrait Sculptors. He exhibited at the Woodland Arts Gallery and the Alwin Gallery and made one appearance at the annual Royal Academy exhibitions, in 1975, with a zinc sculpture entitled Guardian. Ravera’s public commissions include In Town, Battersea Bridge Road, south London (1982–83; RBS Silver Medal for Best Work in London 1983); A Family Outing – casts at Townley Road, Bexleyheath; Orchards Shopping Centre, Haywards Heath, West Sussex; and Mell Square, Solihull, West Midlands (all installed 1985); Bust of John Rennie, Spirit Quay, Western Dock, Wapping (1987); Spirit of Youth, St Mary’s Court, Ipswich (1989); Dolphin Fountain, Barbican, City of London (1989–90); Constellation, Greenwood House, Bracknell, Berkshire (1991); Trawlerman, Hadleigh Road, Ipswich (1992); Hands, outside the Collegiate building (student accommodation), Reading (1998); and Man of our Time, outside Circa (apartment building), Bracknell, Berkshire (2003). In the mid-1990s Ravera was commissioned to fill two of the four empty niches on the Bexleyheath Coronation Memorial Clock Tower. Erected in 1912, the tower’s front niche had contained a plaster bust of King George V. This had evidently fallen apart in a later cleaning attempt and one of Ravera’s two jobs was to make a replica in stone; his other was to create a completely new bust for one of the other empty niches, of the writer and artist William Morris (whose home, Red House, stands in Red House Lane, Bexleyheath). Ravera’s statues of Geronimo (2001) and Albert Einstein (2004) are included in Felix Dennis’s Garden of Heroes and Villains, Dorsington, Warwickshire.

Sources include: information from the sculptor

Bibliography: D. Buckman, Artists in Britain since 1945 (2 vols: A–L, M–Z), Bristol, 2006; T. Cavanagh, Public Sculpture of South London, Liverpool, 2007, pp. 254, 282, 362, 457; R. Cocke, Public Sculpture of Norfolk and Suffolk, Liverpool, 2013, pp. 176, 293; G.T. Noszlopy, Public Sculpture of Warwickshire, Coventry & Solihull, Liverpool, 2003, pp. 212, 267; J. Seddon et al, Public Sculpture of Sussex, Liverpool, 2014, pp. 141, 203; P. Ward-Jackson, Public Sculpture of the City of London, Liverpool, 2003, pp. 30, 31–32.

Terry Cavanagh, 2007; revised June 2024