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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 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): reliefs on the Town Hall porch (with W. Aumonier), around the Borough Court entrance, on the Clock Tower and on the Library frontage plus, to the right of the Library 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 V&A 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.1911.

Sources: Beattie, S., The New Sculpture, New Haven and London, 1983; Gleichen, Lord E., London’s Open-Air Statuary, London, 1928; Lloyd, F., et al, Public Sculpture of Outer South and West London, Liverpool, 2011; Mapping Sculpture; Noszlopy, G., Public Sculpture of Birmingham (ed. J. Beach), Liverpool, 1998; Royal Academy Summer Exhibition: A Chronicle, 1769–2018.

Terry Cavanagh November 2022