Goscombe John

Sir William Goscombe John RA (21 February 1860 – 15 December 1952) was a prolific Welsh sculptor known for his many public memorials.

Goscombe John
Portrait of Sir William Goscombe John by Simon Harmon Vedder.jpg
Sir William Goscombe John by Simon Hermon Vedder
Born(1860-02-21)21 February 1860
Cardiff, Wales
Died15 December 1952(1952-12-15) (aged 92)
London, England
Education
Known forSculpture
MovementNew Sculpture
Spouse(s)Martha Weiss (m. 1891–1923, her death)

BiographyEdit

John was born in the Canton area of Cardiff, to Thomas John, a wood carver from Llantrithyd and Elizabeth, nee Smith, from Randwick in Gloucestershire.[1][2] As a youth John assisted his father in the restoration of Cardiff Castle and Castell Coch during 1874 which was being overseen by William Burges.[2][3] He initially studied in his home town, attending the Cardiff School of Art throughout the 1870s and also took anatomy classes.[4] John went to London in 1881 and worked as a pupil-assistant in the studio of Thomas Nicholls, Burges's architectural carver.[3] John then studied at the South London School of Technical Art under Jules Dalou and William Silver Frith and afterward at the Royal Academy schools, where he won the gold medal and a travelling scholarship in 1887.[5][3] Throughout 1890 and 1891 he travelled in Europe and Africa and, in 1891, studied in Paris with Auguste Rodin.[2][5] Also in 1891, he married the Swiss-born Marthe Weiss.[2] Their daughter Muriel married Frederick Luke Val Fildes, the son of the artist Sir Luke Fildes.[6]

As a young man he adopted the first name Goscombe, taken from the name of a village in Gloucestershire near his mother's home.[7]

Goscombe John returned to Paris in 1892 to show a statuette, Morpheus at the Paris Salon.[8] John embraced the vigous naturalistic style of the New Sculpture movement and cemented his reputation with works such as John the Baptist for Lord Bute and with a number of life-sized figures including The Elf and A Boy at Play.[8] A Boy at Play was subsequently purchased by the Chantrey Bequest for the Tate.[9]

By the early 1890s John had established himself as a sculptor of some note and began to receive significant public commissions.[8] Although based in London, John won a number of large commissions in his native Wales. These included his 1916 marble St David Blessing the People and ten other figures for Cardiff City Hall.[8] He designed the Hirlas Horn for the 1898 National Eisteddfod of Wales and a set of ceremonial tools to mark the building of the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff.[2] His statue of the shipping magnate and philanthropist John Cory was erected in front of Cardiff City Hall. He received a further number of national and international commissions, including for several war memorials. In 1921 he designed the memorial at Port Sunlight to the employees of Lever Brothers Ltd who had died in the First World War; he also sculpted portraits of Lord and Lady Lever. John received gold medals from the Paris Salon in 1892 and 1901, was made a Royal Academician in 1909, was knighted in 1911, and became a corresponding member of the Institut de France.[5][9] He first exhibited at the Royal Academy in London in 1886 and continued to do so annually until 1948.[2] In 1942 he was awarded the gold medal of the Royal Society of Sculptors.[9]

John settled in Greville Road, Kilburn, London (in a house that had previously belonged to Seymour Lucas), and is buried in Hampstead Cemetery.[10] The memorial statue of his wife, which he designed when she died in 1923, was stolen from the cemetery in 2001 but recovered after a few months; it was put into secure storage, but was again stolen in early 2007.

Public monuments and memorialsEdit

1890–1899Edit

Image Title / subject Location and
coordinates
Date Type Material Dimensions Designation Wikidata Notes
  Memorial to W.R.H Powell Llanboidy, Carmarthenshire 1891 Statue White marble Grade II* Q17742263 [11]
 
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A Boy at Play Tate Britain, London c. 1895 Statue on base Bronze & stone [12]
 
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Daniel Owen Mold, Flintshire c.1896, repositioned 1976 Statue on pedestal Bronze & stone Grade II Q29480968 [13][14][15]
 
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The Elf Kibble Palace, Botanic Gardens, Glasgow 1899 Statue on plinth Marble 2.25m high Q84322910 [16]
 
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The Girl

Tudur Aled
William Salesbury
Henry Rees
William Rees (Gwilym Hiraethog)
Edward Roberts (Iorwerth Glan Aled)

Llansannan, Conwy 1899 Statue on obelisk & plinth Bronze & stone Grade II Q29499309 Monument to Welsh poets and preachers.[15][17][18]

1900–1909Edit

Image Title / subject Location and
coordinates
Date Type Material Dimensions Designation Wikidata Notes
  Tomb of Dean Vaughan North choir-aisle of Llandaff Cathedral 1900 Tomb with sculpture Marble [19]
 
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William Cavendish, 7th Duke of Devonshire Devonshire Place, Eastbourne 1901 Statue on plinth Bronze & stone Grade II Q26295681 [15][20][3]
 
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Arthur Sullivan Memorial Victoria Embankment Gardens, London 1902 Bust and figure on pedestal Bronze & granite Grade II Q27081637 [15][21]
Wigan and District Boer War memorial Mesnes Park, Wigan 1903 Sculpture on plinth Stone with bronze additions Removed after repeated vandalism.[22]
  James Reid (1823–1894) Springburn Park, Glasgow 1903 Statue on pedestal Bronze & granite Category B Q17811051 [23]
 
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Prince Christian Victor of Schleswig-Holstein Thames Street, Windsor, Berkshire 1903 Statue and surround Bronze & Portland stone Grade II Q26411185 [24]
 
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Thomas Edward Ellis Bala, Gwynedd 1903 Statue on plinth with panels Bronze & sandstone c. 4.5m high Grade II Q29502898 A full-size copy is at the Old College, Aberystwyth[15][25]
Coldstream Guards Vestibule of south nave, St Paul's Cathedral, London 1904 Relief sculptures Gilt, bronze & stone 1.5m x 0.9m [26]
 
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RAMC Memorial, Aldershot Gun Hill, Aldershot 1905 Sculpture group, obelisk and wall with plaques Bronze & granite Grade II Q26672950 Architect, Robert Weir Schultz[27][28]
 
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Alfred W. Hughes Memorial Corris, Gwynedd 1905 Celtic cross on pedestal with a bronze plaque Granite Grade II Q2949920 [15][29][30]
 
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King's Liverpool Regiment memorial St John's Gardens, Liverpool 1905 Statues with base & wall Bronze & stone Grade II Q26333154 AB Burton (foundary); William Kirkpatrick Ltd (builders)[15][31][32][3]
Journalists of the South African War memorial Crypt of St. Faith, St Paul's Cathedral, London 1905 Plaque Marble & bronze [33]
 
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Edward VII Grand Parade, Cape Town, South Africa 1905 Statue on pedestal and steps Marble & granite 9m tall Q19623378 [34]
 
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John Cory Gorsedd Gardens, Cathays Park, Cardiff 1906 Statue on pedestal Bronze & stone Grade II Q29491668 [15][35][36]
 
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Judge Gwilym Williams of Miskin (1839–1906) Opposite Crown Court, Cathays Park, Cardiff 1906 Statue on plinth Bronze & stone Grade II Q29491700 [37][38]
 
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Memorial to 2nd Battn Royal Sussex Regiment, 1882 to 1902 Grand Parade, Eastbourne 1906 Statue on pedestal Bronze & stone Grade II* Q17555428 AB Burton (foundary)[15][39][40]
  John Viriamu Jones Entrance hall of the Main Building of Cardiff University, Cathays Park 1906 Statue on pedestal Marble [41]
 
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William Edward Hartpole Lecky Trinity College, Dublin 1906 Statue on pedestal Bronze & stone Q82094233
 
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Godfrey Morgan, 1st Viscount Tredegar Gorsedd Gardens, Cathays Park, Cardiff 1909 Equestrian statue on pedestal with reliefs Bronze & stone Grade II Q29491649 [15][42]

1910–1919Edit

Image Title / subject Location and
coordinates
Date Type Material Dimensions Designation Wikidata Notes
  Sir James Fergusson, 6th Baronet Wellington Square, Ayr 1910 Statue on pedestal Bronze & stone Category B Q17838501 [43][44]
 
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Edward James Saunderson Portadown, County Armagh 1910 Statue on pedestal Bronze & stone [45]
  The Boy Scout National Museum Cardiff 1910 Statuette Bronze Portrait of Basil Webb, son of Henry Webb, and who served as a 2nd lieutenant with the Welsh Guards during the First World War and was killed in December 1917.[46]
  Lewis Edwards memorial Pen-llwyn, Ceredigion 1911 Bust on pedestal Bronze & granite Grade II Q29501128 [47]
 
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Statue of Charles Rolls, Monmouth Agincourt Square, Monmouth 1911 Statue on pedestal Bronze & granite Grade II* Q7604480 [15][48]
  Thomas Sutton Charterhouse School, Surrey 1911 Statue on plinth with plaques Bronze & stone Grade II Q26296559 [49]
 
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Memorial to the Engine Room Heroes of the Titanic Pier Head, Liverpool 1916 Obelisk with statues Bronze & stone Grade II* Q3305518 [50][51]
 
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Edward VII Pier Head, Liverpool 1916 Equestrian statue on pedestal Bronze Grade II Q26320984 [52][5]
  Saint David The Marble Hall, Cardiff City Hall 1916 Statue on pedestal Marble [53]
Lieutenant Colonel A. Carteret-Thynne DSO Parish Church of St. James the Great, Kilkhampton, Cornwall 1917 Tablet with figure & plaque Marble & bronze Carteret-Thynne was killed in action in 1917, having also served in the South African War.[54]
 
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Equestrian statue of the Viscount Wolseley Horse Guards Parade, London 1917 Equestrian statue on pedestal Bronze & Portland stone Grade II Q18159880 [5][15][55][3][9]
 
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Lord Ninian Crichton-Stuart Cathays Park, Cardiff 1917 Statue on plinth Bronze & stone Grade II Q29491669 [56]
Capt H B Knott and Major J L Knott DSO St Andrew's Church, Heddon-on-the-Wall, Northumberland 1918 Tablet with relief figures Marble 1.2m by 1.5m [57]

1920–1929Edit

Image Title / subject Location and
coordinates
Date Type Material Dimensions Designation Wikidata Notes
  Caradog, Griffith Rhys Jones Victoria Square, Aberdare, Rhondda Cynon Taf 1920 Statue on pedestal Bronze & stone Grade II Q29489462 [15][58]
 
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The Minto Panels Victoria Memorial, Kolkata c. 1921 Four deep-relief panels Bronze [59]
 
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Lampeter War Memorial Bryn Square, Lampeter 1921 Statue on pedestal and raised terrace Bronze & granite 4.5m high Grade II Q29489055 Terrace & wall designed by Llewllyn Bankes-Price[60][61]
 
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Port Sunlight War Memorial Port Sunlight, Merseyside 1921 Celtic Cross on an octagonal podium with eleven sculptured figures and twelve relief panels. Bronze & granite 11.5m high Grade I Q15979246 AB Burton (foundary); William Kirkpatrick Ltd (builders)[15][62][63][64]
 
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David Lloyd George Castle Square, Caernarfon 1921 Statue on plinth Bronze & stone Grade II Q29483625 AB Burton (foundary); Base by J Fletcher of Caernarfon.[15][65]
  Statue of Sir John Tomlinson Brunner Grounds of Brunner-Mond works, Winnington, Cheshire 1922 Statue on pedestal Bronze & granite Grade II Q15979536 [15][66][67]
 
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Thomas Charles Edwards Old College, Aberystwyth 1922 Statue on pedestal Bronze & granite Grade II Q29488944 AB Burton (foundary)[15][68][69]
  Llanelli war memorial People's Park, Llanelli 1923 Relief panel and cenotaph Bronze & granite Grade II Q29490305 [70][71]
 
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Northumberland Fusiliers Memorial "The Response" Barras Bridge, Newcastle upon Tyne 1923 Bronze relief figures on a granite base with three granite figures on the reverse Bronze & granite Grade I Q17552582 AB Burton (foundary); William Kirkpatrick Ltd (builders)[72][73]
  Penarth war memorial Alexandra Gardens, Penarth 1924 Obelisk-mounted sculpture on stepped plinth Bronze & granite Grade II Q29491428 [74][75]
 
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Royal Welch Fusiliers memorial Junction of Bodhfryd Rd. & Chester Rd., Wrexham 1924 Twin sculptures on pedestal Bronze & stone Grade II Q29481992 [76][77]
  Carmarthen County war memorial Priory Street, Carmarthen 1924 Statue on pedestal and plinth Bronze & Portland stone 4.5m high Grade II Q29504987 [78][79]
 
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Llandaff Cathedral School war memorial Cathedral Green, Llandaff, Cardiff 1924 3 Sculptures on pedestals Bronze & stone Grade II Q29491677 [80][81]
 
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James Rice Buckley Cathedral Green, Llandaff 1927 Statue on pedestal Bronze & granite Grade II Q29491672 [15][82]
Basil Webb Crypt of Lady Chapel, Hereford Cathedral Reredos with figures of 3 saints Basil Webb was the son of Henry Webb who funded the memorial.[83]

1930 and laterEdit

Image Title / subject Location and
coordinates
Date Type Material Dimensions Designation Wikidata Notes
 
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Evan James & James James Ynysangharad Park, Pontypridd 1930 Two statues on plinths Bronze Grade II* Q17743403 [15][84][85][86]
 
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Seymour Berry, 1st Baron Buckland Outside Central Library, Merthyr Tydfil 1931 Statue on pedestal Bronze & stone Grade II Q29489898 [15][87]
 
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George V Entrance to Queensway Tunnel, Liverpool 1939 Statue Bronze
 
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Queen Mary Entrance to Queensway Tunnel, Liverpool 1939 Statue Bronze
 
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Bishop Joshua Pritchard Hughes Llandaff Cathedral, Cardiff 1940 Plaque Bronze [88]

Other worksEdit

 
Saint John the Baptist

Goscombe John's output was prolific and also includes the Minto panels on the Victoria Memorial, Kolkata and the monuments to Lord Salisbury in Westminster Abbey[5] and at Hatfield Church.

John's output also included:

ReferencesEdit

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  2. ^ a b c d e f g Dr. Paul Joyner (2001). "John, Sir William Goscombe (1860–1952), sculptor and medallist". Dictionary of Welsh Biography. Retrieved 20 September 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Susan Beattie (1983). The New Sculpture. Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art / Yale University Press. ISBN 0300033591.
  4. ^ "The Welsh Cartoonist: An Interesting Chat With Mr. Staniforth". The Weekly Mail. papuraunewyddcymru.llgc.org.uk. 19 December 1906. Archived from the original on 29 May 2014. Retrieved 29 May 2014.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i David Buckman (2006). Artists in Britain Since 1945 Vol 1, A to L. Art Dictionaries Ltd. ISBN 0-953260-95-X.
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External linksEdit