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Public Statues and Sculpture Association

John Wenlock Rollins (1862–1940)

Sculptor trained at Birmingham School of Art, then South London Technical Art School under W.S. Frith, and finally the Royal Academy (RA) Schools, 1885–89. In 1885 and 1886, he won prizes in the National Art Competitions. In 1892, he was assistant to Thomas Stirling Lee on the series of relief panels for the exterior of St George’s Hall, Liverpool. Rollins executed much of the carved sculpture on Charles Henman II’s Croydon Municipal Buildings (1894–96), comprising reliefs on the Town Hall porch (with W. Aumonier), around the Borough Court entrance, on the Clock Tower, in a frieze above the library windows and in the tympanum of the library’s former entrance and, to the right of the library’s new entrance, a statue of John Whitgift. For Charles’s brother, William Henman, Rollins carved three figures for the central entrance porch of Birmingham General Hospital (1896–97; since demolished) and two caryatids for the same city’s Midland Hotel (1903). For Aston Webb, 1905, he carved relief figures of William of Wykeham and John Thorpe for the Victoria and Albert Museum’s Cromwell Road frontage. His is also the bronze statue of Queen Victoriac.1903, at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast. He exhibited at the RA 20 times between 1887 and 1913; his Sweet Song and Melody (RA 1904, no. 1679) was illustrated in Academy Architecture and Architectural Review (vol. 27, p. 119). Rollins lived for much of his adult life in Chelsea and South Kensington, working from Cedar Studios, Glebe Place, c.1891–c.1904, and subsequently 6 Wetherby Mews, c.1911–c.1913.

Bibliography: S. Beattie, The New Sculpture, New Haven and London, 1983; T. Cavanagh, Public Sculpture of Kensington and Chelsea with Westminster South-West, Watford, 2023, p. 168; T. Cavanagh, Public Sculpture of South London, Liverpool, 2007, p. 154; Lord E. Gleichen, London’s Open-Air Statuary, London, 1928; F. Lloyd et al, Public Sculpture of Outer South and West London, Liverpool, 2011, pp. 18–20, 21–22; Mapping Sculpture; G.T. Noszlopy, Public Sculpture of Birmingham (ed. J. Beach), Liverpool, 1998, pp. 122, 170–71; Royal Academy Summer Exhibition: A Chronicle, 1769–2018.

Terry Cavanagh November 2022