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Public Statues and Sculpture Association

Arthur George Walker (1861–1939)

Sculptor, painter and mosaicist, born in Hackney, London. He attended the Royal Academy Schools 1883–88 (winning a Landseer Scholarship in 1886). In the earlier part of his career, he executed a number of architectural sculpture commissions, including stone and bronze emblems of the Four Evangelists, 1895, for the tower of the Church of the Ark of the Covenant (later Church of the Good Shepherd), Upper Clapton, London; and mosaic designs for the Greek Orthodox church, Bayswater, and Whitelands College, then at Chelsea. Walker executed a South African War Memorial for Bury St Edmunds (1904), and numerous First World War memorials: his figure of a Tommy standing with reversed rifle was commissioned in Portland stone for Heston, Middlesex (1918) and Chesham, Bucks (1921), and in bronze for Sevenoaks, Kent (1920), Heath Town, Wolverhampton (1920), Dartford, Kent (1922), and Ironbridge, Shropshire (1924). He also produced bespoke memorials, for St Anne’s Church, Limehouse, 1921 (with a figure of the Blessing Christ); Shrewsbury School, 1923 (with a figure of old-boy Sir Philip Sidney); and Derby, 1924 (with a standing Virgin and Child). Walker’s first important public statue was of Florence Nightingale, 1914, Waterloo Place (followed in 1916 by a relief memorial to the same subject for the crypt of St Paul’s Cathedral). Later public statues include Emmeline Pankhurst, 1930, Victoria Tower Gardens, Westminster, and an equestrian John Wesley, 1932, Wesleyan Chapel courtyard, Broad Mead, Bristol. Walker was a member of the Art Workers’ Guild, 1892–1916, and in 1904 a founder member of the Society (later Royal Society) of British Sculptors (Fellow from 1923). He was elected an Associate Royal Academician (RA) in 1925 and a full RA in 1936, became a Senior RA in 1937, and was a Visitor at the Royal Academy Schools, October 1928–June 1929. The Royal Academy has three of Walker’s oil paintings (c.1932) of the interior of his studio at Cedar Studios, Glebe Place, Chelsea, in which can be seen the models for a number of his works.

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, pp. 37–38, 66–67, 170, 249; T. Cavanagh, Public Sculpture of South London, Liverpool, 2007, pp. 52, 53, 63–64; R. Cocke, Public Sculpture of Norfolk and Suffolk, Liverpool, 2013, pp. 199–201, 267–68; A.S. Gray, Edwardian Architecture, London, 1985; F. Lloyd et al, Public Sculpture of Outer South and West London, Liverpool, 2011, pp. 129–30; Mapping Sculpture; D. Merritt and F. Greenacre, with K. Eustace, Public Sculpture of Bristol, Liverpool, 2011, pp. 130–34; E. Morris and E. Roberts, Public Sculpture of Cheshire and Merseyside, Liverpool, 2012, pp. 51, 248; G.T. Noszlopy and F. Waterhouse, Public Sculpture of Herefordshire, Shropshire and Worcestershire, Liverpool, 2010, pp. 75–76, 105; P. Ward-Jackson, Public Sculpture of Historic Westminster. Volume 1, Liverpool, 2011, pp. xxxix, 382–85, 390, 394, 395, 401–03; Who Was Who.

Terry Cavanagh November 2022

Walker, Arthur George

Arthur George Walker, Self-portraitc. 1910, oil on canvas, Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum, Bournemouth (photo: public domain)