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Public Statues and Sculpture Association

Edwin John Cumming Russell (1939–2013)

Sculptor born in Heathfield, Sussex. He attended Brighton College of Arts and Crafts, 1955–59, and the Royal Academy (RA) Schools, 1959–63, where he won the RA Gold Medal and Edward Stott Travelling Scholarship and met his future wife and occasional collaborator, the sculptor Lorne McKean. Following their marriage, the couple established their home and studio near Hindhead, Surrey. In 1978, Russell was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of British Sculptors and in 1991 won the society’s Otto Beit Medal for Sculpture. In the early part of his career, he received several ecclesiastical commissions. For St Paul’s Cathedral he produced a crucifix in limewood, 1964, and a St Michael in oak (Chapel of St Michael and St George), 1970. In 1972 the Dean and Chapter asked him to produce models for stone figures intended to replace the much-weathered series by Francis Bird (1667–1731) on the cathedral’s parapets. The publication of a photograph of his model for St Peter in The Times (16 January 1974, p. 3) elicited a letter from the Art Workers’ Guild (14 February 1974, p. 23) protesting that the figure was stylistically incompatible with the building, an intervention perhaps responsible for the subsequent abandonment of the project. Russell also made a figure of St Catherine in lead for Westminster Abbey and a Bishop Bubwith in stone, 1980, for the west front of Wells Cathedral. His public commissions include the Suffragette Memorial, 1968–70 (with McKean), Christchurch Gardens, Westminster; Untitled (‘Harvey’), c.1980, stainless steel, Jack Copland Centre, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh; two sculptures unveiled in 1984, commemorating Lewis Carroll: the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, granite, Warrington, Cheshire, and Alice and the White Rabbit, bronze, Guildford; Lion and Lamb, 1986, Farnham, which won the Best Shopping Centre Sculpture Award 1987; a Panda in marble, 1988, for the World Wildlife Fund International Headquarters, Gland, Switzerland; and Sheep, 1990, High Street, Guildford, Surrey. He also designed a number of thematic sundials, including Jubilee Dolphin Sundial, 1978, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich; Botanical Armillary Sundial, 1987, Kew Gardens; a five-metre bronze dial, 1988, for Parliament Square, Dubai; the Tower Hill Sundial (with architect John Chitty), 1992, for Wakefield Gardens, City of London; and the Horsham Heritage Sundial (with McKean), 2003. Private collections owning his work include Arup Associates, City of London Grammar School, Sir Robert McAlpine & Sons, Trafalgar House plc, and the Worshipful Company of Stationers.

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. 397–98; R. McKenzie, Public Sculpture of Edinburgh (2 vols), vol. 1, Liverpool, 2018, p. 387; E. Morris and E. Roberts, Public Sculpture of Cheshire and Merseyside (excluding Liverpool), Liverpool, 2012, pp. 234–35; J. Seddon et al, Public Sculpture of Sussex, Liverpool, 2014, pp. 141–42; P. Ward-Jackson, Public Sculpture of the City of London, Liverpool, 2003, pp. 363, 417–18; P. Ward-Jackson, Public Sculpture of Historic Westminster, vol. 1, Liverpool, 2011, pp. 30–31; Who Was Who.

Terry Cavanagh October 2023