Skip to main content

Public Statues and Sculpture Association

Reuben Sheppard (1874–1946)

Born in Dublin, he was a son of Simpson Sheppard, a monumental stone carver, and a younger brother of the sculptor Oliver Sheppard. Reuben Sheppard studied at the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art, 1889–94. In 1895, he exhibited a model of a candelabrum in the first exhibition of the Arts and Crafts Society of Ireland. In the same year, he submitted a design for a drinking fountain in the national competition run by the Department of Science and Art, South Kensington, and was awarded a silver medal, earning him a place at the National Art Training School (later Royal College of Art) where he studied, 1895–97, under Edouard Lantéri. His training under Lantéri led to his only public sculpture commission, the high-relief figures of William Hogarth and Joshua Reynolds on Aston Webb’s Victoria and Albert Museum façade. Sheppard worked as an assistant to Thomas Brock and in 1906 Brock successfully nominated Sheppard for membership of the Society (later Royal Society) of British Sculptors. Sheppard showed 10 sculptures at the Royal Academy between 1906 and 1914, but in this latter year, for reasons that are unclear, his career as a sculptor came to an end. For a while he earned his living as a salesman, but in 1921 lost his job and was reduced to living in a hostel at King’s Cross, subsisting on financial assistance from his brothers, Oliver and John (a physician). He eventually found employment with the bankers, N.M. Rothschild and Sons, remaining with them until his retirement on a pension in 1944.

Bibliography: A. Carpenter and P. Murphy (eds), Art and Architecture of Ireland, Vol III: Sculpture 1600–2000, Dublin, 2015, pp. 316–17; T. Cavanagh, Public Sculpture of Kensington and Chelsea with Westminster South-West, Watford, 2023, p. 168; Mapping SculptureRoyal Academy Summer Exhibition: A Chronicle, 1769–2018.

Terry Cavanagh November 2022