Sir William Goscombe John RA (21 February 1860 – 15 December 1952) was a Welsh sculptor.
William Goscombe John by George Roilos
|Died||15 December 1952 (aged 92)|
|Education||South London School of Technical Art (Jules Dalou and William Silver Frith)|
He was born in Canton, Cardiff, and as a youth assisted his father, Thomas John, a wood carver, in the restoration of Cardiff Castle. He initially studied in his home town, attending the Cardiff School of Art. He went to London in 1882 and 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. In 1890–91 he studied in Paris. He married Swiss-born Marthe Weiss. Their daughter Muriel married the son of artist Sir Luke Fildes.
Goscombe John was commissioned to design many public monuments and statues of public figures such as the shipping magnate and philanthropist John Cory; John's statue of the latter was erected in front of City Hall, Cardiff. 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. He received a gold medal in Paris in 1901, was made a Royal Academician in 1909, was knighted in 1911, and became corresponding member of the French Institute. He settled in Greville Road, Kilburn, London (in a house that had previously belonged to Seymour Lucas), and is buried in Hampstead Cemetery. 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.
|Port Sunlight and Lever Brothers Ltd Employees War Memorial||Port Sunlight Merseyside||This elaborate memorial bears various inscriptions. The main inscription reads
Then on a south facing panel the inscription reads
The north facing panel has the following inscription
At the base of the plinth and on the south side is written
Finally on the wall surrounding the central platform are the words
and on the reverse of the wall
The memorial itself comprises a Celtic Cross with chamfered shaft placed on an octagonal podium with eleven surrounding sculptured figures and twelve relief panels. There are steps on the north, south, east and west sides. The free-standing figures depicts soldiers, women and children in various poses and the reliefs depicts ambulance men with wounded soldiers, gunners, sailors and anti-aircraft guns. The memorial honours 511 men who gave their lives in the First World War and 117 men lost in the Second World War. The unveiling took place on 3 December 1921. Photograph on the right shown courtesy Man vyi. There are some other photographs in the gallery below.
|The Northumberland Fusiliers Memorial "The Response"||Newcastle Tyne and Wear||This memorial is located by Barras Bridge just by St Thomas the Martyr Church. The inscriptions read
The memorial comprises a granite base with a large group of figures on one side, all in bronze, and on the other side three figures in granite. The memorial is known by the name "The Response" and shows the men of Tyneside rushing to join the Colours. Other men follow carrying tools or rifles. The men wear uniforms or civilian working clothes. Some of the men are saying goodbye to their families and others wave. Flags flutter above and a winged figure sounds a trumpet. One of the granite figures on the other side of the memorial is St George who is flanked by a soldier in the Northumberland Fusilier's uniform of the Great War period and another soldier who wears the uniform of 1674, the year the Regiment was formed. The unveiling took place on 5 July 1923 the ceremony being led by HRH Prince of Wales. The memorial was the gift of Sir George and Lady Renwick, mark the war effort by the Northumberland Fusiliers, the safe return of the Renwick's five sons from the Great War and Sir George Renwick's 50 years of commercial involvement in the Newcastle Quayside.
|Lampeter War Memorial||Lampeter Ceredigion||This memorial stands in Lampeter's Bryn Square and is inscribed
The memorial consists of a square granite plinth on a raised terrace surmounted by a bronze by Goscombe John depicting a soldier standing with slung rifle and one foot resting on a rock. The memorial was unveiled in October 1921.
|The Men of Penarth War Memorial||Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan||This memorial stands in Alexandra Gardens with the inscription
The memorial comprises a white granite stepped obelisk with a winged "Victory" figure on the side of the obelisk facing the sea. "Victory" holds both wreath and sword and stands on the prow of a ship.
The memorial was unveiled on 11 November 1924.
|Llandaff and Llandaff Cathedral School War Memorial||Llandaff, Cardiff||This memorial which stands on Cathedral Green has an inscription on the central plinth reading
The names of those honoured being listed on two outer plinths. Goscombe John has sculpted some figures in bronze and these stand atop the plinth. The figure on the central plinth is a robed figure with one arm raised in blessing whilst there is a shield on his other arm. He is flanked by an armed schoolboy and an armed workman these representing two future soldiers in training, one drawn from Llandaff Cathedral School the other from the population of Llandaff itself. The memorial was unveiled 18 October 1924by the Earl of Plymouth.
|Royal Welch Fusiliers Memorial||Wrexham, Clwyd||The memorial was moved from its original site at the junction of Bodhyfryd and Chester Roads due to an increased volume of traffic and is now located at the junction of Regent Street and Grosvenor Road in Wrexham. The main inscription reads
with a further inscription on the left wall reading
and another on the right side wall reading
The memorial comprises an Ashlar granite pedestal with flanking walls. The central pedestal is surmounted by bronze figures by Goscombe John these dressed in the 18th and 20th Century uniforms of the Royal Welch Fusiliers. The unveiling ceremony took place on 15 November 1924.
|Memorial to 2nd Battn Royal Sussex Regiment −1882 to 1902||Eastbourne, East Sussex||Located in Cavendish Place, Eastbourne, this memorial comprises a two stepped granite octagonal base, set in the junction of the road. bronze plaques are positioned on the south west and north west sides and these have reliefs showing soldiers in action in the Black Mountain and Tirah expeditions. On the South East face is the dedicatory inscription and there is a list of names on the north west face. At the base Goscombe John has sculpted a young officer in the uniform of the Bengal Regiment prior to the Indian Mutiny. He wears a plumed shako and has a downward facing drawn sword in his right hand. His left hand rests on his hip. There is a cannon to the rear. The inscription on south-east face reads
The inscription on the north west Face reads
The memorial was unveiled on 7 February 1906.
|Llanelli War Memorial||Llanelli, Carmarthenshire||The memorial is located opposite the Town Hall. Inscription reads
Memorial comprises a plinth surmounted by a bronze infantryman wearing helmet with his rifle slung over one arm. He stands with his arm around a bare-chested gunner who stands with cap and hands to his front. Unveiling took place in 1923. Image shown courtesy David Daniel.
|Carmarthen County War Memorial||Carmarthen, Carmarthenshire||This memorial is located in Priory Street and has an inscription on the front face reading
and on the face to the rear
The memorial comprises a stone plinth with a soldier on the top. He stands at ease, bareheaded and with rifle and bayonet. Unveiled 5 September 1924.
|Wigan and District South African War Memorial||Wigan, Greater Manchester||Memorial located in Wigan's Mesnes Park. Comprises an inscribed plinth originally surmounted by a highly detailed stone figure of an officer in Boer War campaign uniform and slouch hat holding a bronze banner and pistol. Sadly the statue was subjected to repeated vandalism and after the sword had been repeatedly stolen the statue was removed by the council and dumped! The memorial commemorates the Second Boer War (1899–1902).|
|Hughes Memorial||Corris, Gwynedd||Memorial to Alfred W. Hughes, the first Dean of the Cardiff University School of Medicine. He founded the Welsh Hospital during the Second Boer War and died in 1900 of typhoid that he contracted during his service. Memorial is a pink granite celtic cross in Corris, Hughes' birthplace.|
|Memorial to the Engine Room Heroes of the "Titanic"||Liverpool, Merseyside||This memorial stands on Pier Head in Liverpool. It is inscribed on the north face
and on the south face
Comprises a granite column with a carved Egyptian scene at the top and statues of engineers by Goscombe John on the West face. There are depictions of Water,Earth,Sea and Fire on each corner. The memorial commemorates the 122 Engineers who died when RMS Titanic sunk on 15 April 1912.
|Kings Liverpool Regiment Memorial||Liverpool, Merseyside||This memorial is located in St Johns Gardens in Liverpool. A central granite pedestal is surmounted by Goscombe John's depiction of "Britannia". The pedestal is flanked by arching walls with the figure of a serviceman at each end. At the left end of the wall is a soldier of 1685 whilst a soldier of 1902 stands at the right end. At the foot of the pedestal are carvings of guns and other military equipment. At the memorial's rear is the Regimental badge, a sphinx and below the figure of a drummer boy dressed in the uniform of 1743. He sits on a rock and beats the "Call to Arms". The inscription on the front face reads
Further inscriptions record some of the battles in which this regiment fought-BLENHEIM. RAMILLIES. OUDENARDE./ MALPLAQUET. DETTINGEN. DEFENCE OF MARTINIQUE. NIAGARA. DELHI./ LUCKNOW. PEIWOR – KOTAL/ LADYSMITH.
|Memorial tablet Lt Col A Carteret-Thynne DSO||Kilkhampton, Cornwall||Lt Col A Carteret-Thynne DSO had a distinguished war record in both the South African War and the Great War. He died in battle on 6 November 1917 and is buried at Beersheba War Cemetery in Israel. Goscombe John both designed and carried out sculptural work on a white marble tablet in Kilkhampton parish church erected in honour of Carteret-Thynne. Goscombe's work includes a figure of Carteret-Thynne in Field Service Dress and on a charger.|
|Memorial tablet for Capt H B Knott and Major J L Knott DSO.||Heddon on the Wall, Northumberland||At St Andrew's Church in Heddon on the Wall, Goscombe John carried out work on a memorial tablet on the north aisle wall. Two members of the Knott family are remembered. Major James Leadbitter Knott DSO gave his life at the Somme on 1 July 1916 and he is buried at Ypres alongside his brother Captain Henry Basil Knott who had been killed in 1915 at Ypres. The marble tablet is in two halves with pillars at the end and in the centre. Each half has a pediment with the figure of a knight on horseback carved in half relief by Goscombe John.|
|Memorial to Basil Webb||Hereford, Herefordshire||In Hereford Cathedral, Goscombe John worked on a reredos located in the crypt of the Lady Chapel. It was Sir Henry Webb who funded the restoration of the Cathedral's crypt and Lady Chapel in memory of his son Basil who had been killed in the Great War. Goscombe John was commissioned to work on the reredos for which he carved the figures of St Michael, St George, and St Ethelbert.|
|Memorial to those Journalists killed in the Second Boer War.||St Paul's Cathedral, Greater London||Located in the Crypt of St Paul's in the Chapel of St Faith, south aisle, is a work by Goscombe John inscribed
The memorial comprises a bronze gilt wall panel with the image of a barefoot woman seated and holding a wreath. The panel has a beaded border set in a red variegated marble frame. The list of 12 names includes the name of the news agency or newspaper which employed those who died.
|Coldstream Guards Memorial- Boer War||St Paul's Cathedral, Greater London||In the south nave vestibule of St Paul's is another Goscombe John work, this a memorial to the 207 men of the Coldstream Guards who lost their lives in the Second Boer War. Goscombe John's composition depicts two men of the Coldstream Guards. One man from the 1st Battalion is mortally wounded and lies dying in the arms of his comrade from the 2nd Battalion. Above these two is a group of Coldstreamers of former times watching proudly, as if in a vision, the bravery of their successors. Goscombe John includes the figure of General Monck, the first Colonel of the Coldstream Guards who is depicted on a horse. The other figures suggest campaigns in which the Regiment had seen service, including those of Marlborough, the Peninsula, Waterloo and the Crimea. In the background of the relief Goscombe John recreates the South African veldt, with distant kopjes, from behind which the setting sun floods both the landscape and the figures. Below the panel and on a riband is a Garter star (the regimental badge) and the motto 'Nulli Secundus'.|
|Royal Army Medical Corps Memorial||Aldershot Hampshire||This memorial bears the inscription
The memorial itself comprises a granite and bronze memorial to the members of the Royal Army Medical Corps who fell in the Boer War built c1905 with a bronze sculpture by Goscombe John and an architectural setting by Robert Weir Schultz
“The Royal Army Medical Corps Memorial is a dignified and elegant granite design comprising a grey granite obelisk centrally set within a curved wall terminated by pillars and approached by three steps. At the top of the obelisk is the Corps insignia below which is inscribed, 'RAMC To those who gave their lives for their country'. At the base of the obelisk is a plinth inscribed, 'South Africa 1899-1902' on which is a bronze sculpture depicting two uniformed Corps members treating a soldier in a pieta composition." The flanking walls have vertically set bronze panels recording 314 names.. The unveiling took place on 24 May 1905 by Edward VII.
|Statue of Garnet Wolseley, 1st Viscount Wolseley on Horse Guards Parade||London||Much information on this Goscombe John work can be gleaned from The National Archives' files at their Kew offices. File
WORK 20/105 covers the period November 1913 to August 1920 and gives us background information on the choosing of the site for the memorial and its design. The correspondence involves, amongst others, H.M.Office of Works, the War Office, the Committee of the Memorial to Lord Wolseley, Lady Wolseley, the Prime Minister's Office, and Goscombe John (many hand written letters written from his 24 Greville Road, St.John's Wood address). We read that it was a visit to Cardiff by the First Commissioner of Works that prompted him to suggest using Goscombe John to the memorials organising committee; He had seen Goscombe Johns' equestrian statue of Lord Tredegar there and was most impressed by it. The First Commissioner wrote " This statue is certainly one of the most striking modern equestrian statues I have ever seen, and I think Goscombe John is well worthy of your consideration as a sculptor for the Wolseley Memorial". We also learn that Lady Wolseley was involved in the choice of uniform which Wolseley would wear in the statue. The First Commissioner had suggested less formal wear ( "the kind of garb he wore, say, during the Egyptian Campaign, or some active service kit.") but Lady Wolseley preferred that her husband be shown in full Field Marshal's attire. At one point Lady Wolseley wrote that many of Lord Wolseley's friends wished that Adrian Jones be given the commission. She talked in admiring terms of Jones' statue of the Duke of Cambridge (in Whitehall). She had seen a photograph of the Lord Tredegar statue but was not impressed with the representation of the horse. Later however we learn that Lady Wolseley had seen Goscombe John's model for the statue and had been happy with it. From another file, Work 20/213, we learn that during the 1939–1945 war and after suffering bomb damage the statue was moved to Berkhampstead Castle in 1941 to avoid the risk of further damage and stayed there until 1949.
|Equestrian statue of Godfrey Morgan, 1st Viscount Tredegar in Cathays Park||Cardiff||In Gorsedd Gardens is the equestrian statue of Godfrey, First Viscount Tredegar, who took part in the Charge of the Light Brigade. This statue was unveiled on 25 October 1909. Also includes some splendid reliefs by Goscombe John.|
|The Boy Scout||Goscombe John executed this bronze in 1910 and it is currently held in the collection of the Amgueddfa Cymru Caerdydd [National Museum of Wales, Cardiff] Accession number: NMW A 126. It was the gift of Lady Webb. This figure was first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1910 and is in fact a portrait of Basil Webb, the only son of Henry Webb, of Llwynarthau, Monmouthshire, a Liberal MP and mining engineer, who was a director of David Davies's Ocean Coal Company. The sitter served as a 2nd lieutenant with the Welsh Guards during the First World War and was killed in December 1917. See entry above. This sculpture was included in "An Exhibition of Works by Certain Modern Artists of Welsh Birth or Extraction" held in 1913–14|
|Merlin and Arthur||Cardiff||Another work held in the collection of the Amgueddfa Cymru Caerdydd [National Museum of Wales, Cardiff] Accession number: NMW A 127. This work dates to circa 1896. This bronze was exhibited at The Royal Academy in 1902.|
|Statue of Thomas Charles Edwards||Aberystwyth||Thomas Charles Edwards was a Welsh minister, writer and academic who was the first Principal of the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth. Goscombe John executed a statue of Edwards which was unveiled in 1922 and stands in the University's forecourt.|
|Tomb of Dean Vaughan||Llandaff||In 1900 Goscombe John executed a marble, life-sized depiction for Vaughan's tomb in Llandaff Cathedral (north choir-aisle)|
|Memorial Relief to the late Canon Guy D.D||Llandaff||Also in Llandaff Cathedral, Goscombe John executed this relief in 1897 according to Academy Architecture and Architectural Review, No. 1996.|
|Statue of James Rice Buckley||Llandaff||This 1926 bronze stands on a granite pedestal by Llandaff Cathedral. James Rice Buckley had been Vicar of Llandaff from 1878 to 1913, and then Archdeacon of Llandaff from 1913 to 1924.|
|Statue of John Cory||Cardiff||In 1905/6 Goscombe John executed a statue of John Cory which stands in Gorsedd Gardens.|
|Statue of Sir John Tomlinson Brunner||Winnington||The statue of Sir John Brunner stands in the grounds of the Brunner-Mond chemical factory, which he founded in 1873 with Ludwig Mond.|
|Statue of John Viriamu Jones||Cardiff||The Statue of John Viriamu Jones stands in the entrance hall of the Main Building of Cardiff University, in Cathays Park.|
John's output also included:
- Sculptures on Electra House in Moorgate, City of London, these dating from 1900 to 1903 and representing Egypt, Japan, India and China.
- Equestrian Statue of Edward VII on Pier Head, Liverpool.
- The Arthur Sullivan Memorial on the Embankment in London.
- Statue of Judge Gwilym Williams in Cathays Park, Cardiff.
- The work Grief dating to 1890.
- Queen Alexandra. Statue on the facade of the Victoria & Albert Museum.
- Carved figures on a reredos in St John the Baptist Church, St John Street, Cardiff.
- Statue of David Lloyd George in Caernarfon, Gwynedd.
- Evan James and James James Statues in Pontypridd, Rhondda Cynon Taf. Evan James, bardic name Ieuan ap Iago was a weaver and poet and James James, bardic name Iago ap Ieuan was a harpist and musician. They wrote the tune and the lyrics of Hen Wlad fy Nhadau ("Land of my Fathers"), the national anthem of Wales. This Goscombe John work dates to 1930 and is located in Ynysangharad Park.
- Statue of Daniel Owen in Mold, Flintshire.
Goscombe John's output was prolific and also includes the seated statue of the Duke of Devonshire, at Eastbourne, King Edward VII, at Cape Town; Prince Christian Victor, at Windsor; the historian Lecky at Trinity College, Dublin, and the equestrian statue of the Earl of Minto, at Calcutta. Goscombe John also executed the monument to the Marquis of Salisbury, in Westminster Abbey and Hatfield Church.
The National Museum of Wales holds many works by Goscombe John.
- Introduction to "Sir William Goscombe John, R.A., LL.D. Sculpture in the National Museum of Wales Catalogue" dated 1948
- "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.
- "John, Sir William Goscombe (1860–1952), sculptor and medallist". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
- Lever Brothers War Memorial UKNIWM. Retrieved 17 November 2012
- The Northumberland Fusiliers Memorial "The Response" UKNIWM. Retrieved 17 November 2012
- Lampeter War Memorial UKNIWM. Retrieved 18 November 2012
- Ceredigion War Memorial Archived 29 September 2012 at the Wayback Machine Ceredigion-war-memorial.co.uk. Retrieved 19 November 2012
- The Men of Penarth War Memorial UKNIWM. Retrieved 18 November 2012
- Llandaff and Llandaff Cathedral School War Memorial UKNIWM. Retrieved 18 November 2012
- Royal Welch Fusiliers Memorial UKNIWM. Retrieved 18 November 2012
- Memorial to 2nd Battn Royal Sussex Regiment −1882 to 1902 UKNIWM. Retrieved 18 November 2012
- Llanelli War Memorial UKNIWM. Retrieved 19 November 2012
- Carmarthen County War Memorial UKNIWM. Retrieved 19 November 2012
- Wigan and District South African War Memorial UKNIWM. Retrieved 19 November 2012
- "Welsh History Month: Corris Roadside Memorial". Wales Online. 20 May 2013.
- British Medical Journal. British Medical Association. 1902. pp. 854–.
- Memorial to the Engine Room Heroes of the "Titanic" UKNIWM. Retrieved 19 November 2012
- Kings Liverpool Regiment Memorial UKNIWM. Retrieved 19 November 2012
- Memorial tablet Lt Col A Carteret-Thynne DSO UKNIWM. Retrieved 20 November 2012
- Roll of Honour Lt Col A Carteret-Thynne DSO Bedfordshire Roll of Honour. Retrieved 19 November 2012
- Memorial to Knott Brothers UKNIWM. Retrieved 19 November 2012
- Memorial to Basil Webb UKNIWM. Retrieved 19 November 2012.
- Hereford Cathedral Reredos British Towns. Retrieved 19 November 2012
- Memorial to those Journalists killed in the Second Boer War UKNIWM. Retrieved 19 November 2012
- Coldstream Guards Memorial- Boer War UKNIWM. Retrieved 19 November 2012
-  British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 12 November 2016
- Lord Tredegar Statue Cardiff Website. Retrieved 19 November 2012
- Tredegar Statues Hither and Dither. Retrieved 19 November 2012
- The Boy Scout Victorian Web. Retrieved 19 November 2012
- Merlin and Arthur Victorian Web. Retrieved 19 November 2012
- Statue of Thomas Charles Edwards Hither & Dither, Retrieved 19 November 2012
- Tomb of Dean Vaughan Victorian Web. Retrieved 19 November 2012
- Memorial Relief to the late Canon Guy D.D Victorian Web. Retrieved 19 November 2012
- Statue of James Rice Buckley Victorian Web. Retrieved 19 November 2012
- Statue of John Cory Victorian Web. Retrieved 19 November 2012
- Morris, Edward; Roberts, Emma (2012), Public Sculpture of Cheshire and Merseyside (excluding Liverpool), Public Sculpture of Britain, 15, Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, pp. 253–254, ISBN 978-1-84631-492-6
- Historic England. "Statue of Sir John Brunner in front of Research Lab., Winnington Works (1161131)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 21 January 2014.
- Sculptures on Electra House Victorian Web. Retrieved 20 November 2012
- Equestrian Statue of Edward VII Victorian Web. Retrieved 20 November 2012
- Arthur Sullivan Memorial Victorian Web. Retrieved 20 November 2012
- Judge Gwilym Williams Victorian Web. Retrieved 20 November 2012
- Grief Victorian Web. Retrieved 19 November 2012
- Queen Alexandra Victorian Web. Retrieved 20 November 2012
- Reredos in St John the Baptist Church Victorian Web. Retrieved 20 November 2012
- David Lloyd George Hither & Dither. Retrieved 20 November 2012
- Evan James and James James Statues Hither & Dither. Retrieved 20 November 2012
- Daniel Owen Hither & Dither. Retrieved 20 November 2012
- Some works held by the National Museum of Wales National Museum of Wales. Retrieved 19 November 2012