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Public Statues and Sculpture Association

Laurence Arthur Turner (1864–1957)

Architectural carver in wood and stone, and modeller in plaster. He was the youngest of seven brothers, one of whom, Hugh Thackeray Turner, became architect to the Grosvenor Estate in Mayfair and Belgravia, and commissioned decorative work from his younger brother for some of the houses he had designed. Laurence Turner was educated at Marlborough College and at Oxford. Following an apprenticeship with John McCulloch he went into business on his own, the high quality of his craftsmanship earning him commissions from some of the leading church architects of his day. For G.F. Bodley’s Holy Trinity, Prince Consort Road, South Kensington (1901–06), he carved the figures on the pulpit and on the reredoses in the chancel and Lady Chapel; for Philip Webb, he carved the tomb of William Morris (d. 1896) at Kelmscott; for Ernest Newton, the tomb of Richard Norman Shaw and family at Hampstead (1913); and for Walter Tapper, the Lancaster Gate Memorial Cross (1921). Turner was Master of the Art Workers’ Guild in 1922, a member of the Society of Antiquaries, and an honorary Associate of the Royal Institute of British Architects. In 1927, he published Decorative Plasterwork in Great Britain. Following Turner’s death at the age of 93, Charles Wheeler wrote a glowing eulogy in The Times: ‘In these days when craftsmanship is at a low ebb, the loss of so accomplished a designer as Laurence Turner cannot but leave the art world poorer’.

Bibliography: T. Cavanagh, Public Sculpture of Kensington and Chelsea with Westminster South-West, Watford, 2023, pp. 106–07, 340–41; A.S. Gray, Edwardian Architecture, London, 1985; Mapping SculptureThe Times, 12 October 1957, p. 11 (obit. by Charles Wheeler).

Terry Cavanagh November 2022