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William James Bloye ARBSA (8 July 1890 – 6 June 1975) was an English sculptor, active in Birmingham either side of World War II.

William Bloye
William James Bloye

8 July 1890[1]
Birmingham, England
Died6 June 1975(1975-06-06) (aged 84)
Arezzo, Italy
Known forSculpture


He studied, and later, taught at the Birmingham School of Art (his training was interrupted by World War I, when he served in the Royal Army Medical Corps from 1915 to 1917;[2] he was eventually succeeded at Birmingham by John Bridgeman), where his pupils included Gordon Herickx, Roy Kitchin, Raymond Mason, John Poole and Ian Walters. He also studied stone-carving and letter cutting under Eric Gill around 1921.

Blue plaque at Golden Hillock Road.

In 1925 he became a member of the Birmingham Civic Society, having, at about that time, a studio at 111, Golden Hillock Road, Small Heath, Birmingham. As Birmingham's unofficial civic sculptor he worked on virtually all public commissions including libraries, hospitals and the University. He often carved bas-relief plaques, typically for public houses in Birmingham, and decorated a number of buildings by the architect Holland W. Hobbiss.

During the 1920s, he served on the Technical Committee of the Birmingham Civic Society.[3]

He became a member of the Royal British Society of Sculptors: associate (with the honorific suffix ARBS) in 1934, and fellow (FRBS) in 1938. He also won the latter's Otto Beit Medal. Retiring from the School of Art in 1956 he moved to Solihull. He died in Arezzo, Italy in 1975.

In December 2010, a blue plaque was unveiled at City College, on the site of his former studio.[2]

As of January 2010, Birmingham City Council are working on the restoration Bloye's statue of Pan at Aston Hall. The statue's head is missing, and they have appealed for old photographs, to assist in its reconstruction.[4]


William Bloye's entry in the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists members' register; in his own hand. Dated 1930.

Bloye was closely associated with the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists (RBSA). Although the two 1919 bronze plaques at the RBSA entrance are the earliest known work by Bloye in Birmingham, he only became a member in 1930.[5] After a period as vice-president, he became president in 1948[6] and served in that role until 1950. He was also the RBSA's Professor of Sculpture[6] from at least the mid-1940s until at least 1961[7] (after which time the post is no longer mentioned in the annual catalogues).[8]

The Society's permanent collection includes one of his works, a life-size plaster bust, Head of Man.[9] It is undated and not usually on display. The subject's name is not recorded.


Image Title / subject Location and
Date Type Material Dimensions Designation Owner / administrator Notes
  Allegories of Art and Industry Over the north-west door of Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery (The Feeney Gallery extension), Great Charles Street

52°28′52″N 1°54′18″W / 52.4811°N 1.9050°W / 52.4811; -1.9050
c. 1919 (1919) Stone Birmingham City Council [10]
  Aesculapius Chest Clinic, Great Charles Street

52°28′54″N 1°54′17″W / 52.4817°N 1.9047°W / 52.4817; -1.9047
1930 (1930) Relief carving Stone [10]
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Boulton, Watt and Murdoch Broad Street

52°28′43″N 1°54′30″W / 52.478587°N 1.908395°W / 52.478587; -1.908395
1956 (1956) statues Gilded Bronze Birmingham City Council Matthew Boulton, James Watt and William Murdoch
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Queen Victoria Victoria Square

52°28′47″N 1°54′11″W / 52.479628°N 1.902998°W / 52.479628; -1.902998
1951 (1951) statue Bronze Birmingham City Council Recast from a marble statue by Thomas Brock[10]
  Royal Oak Lozells

52°30′10″N 1°54′02″W / 52.502687°N 1.900501°W / 52.502687; -1.900501
c. 1936 (1936) Stone Decoration around the doorway of a former pub (now a shop). Formerly brightly painted.[10]
  The Boar's Head The Boar's Head, Perry Barr

52°31′45″N 1°53′44″W / 52.529153°N 1.895465°W / 52.529153; -1.895465
c. 1938 (1938) Wood Painted pub sign comprising a model boar's head, on a pole.[10] Taken from the arms of the Gough-Calthorpe family of nearby Perry Hall
  Running stag Perry Barr Stadium

52°31′09″N 1°53′52″W / 52.519192°N 1.897717°W / 52.519192; -1.897717
1929 (1929) Bas-relief Stone Logo of Birchfield Harriers.[10] Attributed.[10]
  The Towers Tower Hill, Great Barr

52°32′08″N 1°55′14″W / 52.535574°N 1.92062°W / 52.535574; -1.92062
1936 (1936) Stone Bloye was responsible for all the stone carving on this brick building[10]
  Bronze Plaques Royal Birmingham Society of Artists

52°29′06″N 1°54′27″W / 52.484891°N 1.907520°W / 52.484891; -1.907520
1919 (1919) Bronze Formerly at the Society's old headquarters on New Street[10]
  Call, Front Line and Return Hall of Memory, Broad Street

52°28′46″N 1°54′25″W / 52.4795°N 1.9070°W / 52.4795; -1.9070
1925 (1925) Interior bas-relief carvings [10]
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'Wisdom, Fortitude, Charity, Faith' Legal and General Assurance Building, 7 Waterloo Street

52°28′49″N 1°54′00″W / 52.480405°N 1.900024°W / 52.480405; -1.900024
1932 (1932) Four bas relief panels Exterior high level bas-relief carvings.[10]
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Capitals and pediment sculptures New Oxford House, 16 Waterloo Street

52°28′48″N 1°54′05″W / 52.479942°N 1.901489°W / 52.479942; -1.901489
1935 (1935) Exterior: two capitals, shield above door and upstairs pediment and putto.[10]
  Coat of arms and two lion reliefs Council House, Priory Road, Dudley

52°30′44″N 2°05′03″W / 52.5122°N 2.0841°W / 52.5122; -2.0841
1928 (1928) Façade on Council House (Town Hall)[11]
  Fox and Hollybush Acocks Green

52°26′39″N 1°50′03″W / 52.44408°N 1.83418°W / 52.44408; -1.83418
1927 (1927)-8 Bas-relief From former Fox Hollies pub.[10] Now on Lidl supermarket.
  War Memorial: George and the Dragon and lions on flagpoles Town Hall, Priory Street, Dudley

52°30′41″N 2°05′04″W / 52.5115°N 2.0844°W / 52.5115; -2.0844
1928 (1928) Also four bronze lions (1936) on flagpoles, Town Hall tower[11]
  Dudley's Past Town Hall, corner of Priory Road and Priory Street, Dudley

52°30′43″N 2°05′02″W / 52.5120°N 2.0839°W / 52.5120; -2.0839
1935 (1935) [11]
  The Antelope Sparkhill

52°27′12″N 1°51′57″W / 52.453362°N 1.865753°W / 52.453362; -1.865753
c. 1929 (1929) Bas-relief pub sign Designed by Bloye, sculpted by his assistant, Tom Wright[10]
Allegory of Painting Former Art Gallery, Avenue Road, Leamington Spa 1929 (1929) Sandstone Life-size female nude[12]
  Pan Aston Hall, Birmingham

52°30′24″N 1°53′09″W / 52.50658°N 1.88577°W / 52.50658; -1.88577
1934 (1934) [4][10]
  Two stone vases Aston Hall, Birmingham

52°30′24″N 1°53′07″W / 52.50666°N 1.88519°W / 52.50666; -1.88519
52°30′23″N 1°53′07″W / 52.50642°N 1.88524°W / 52.50642; -1.88524
1934 (1934) Vases Stone Birmingham City Council [10]
  Capitals and Heads Council House, Priory Road, Dudley

52°30′44″N 2°05′03″W / 52.5122°N 2.0841°W / 52.5122; -2.0841
1935 (1935) [11]
Dudley from the Wren's Nest Council House, Priory Road, Dudley

52°30′44″N 2°05′04″W / 52.5121°N 2.0844°W / 52.5121; -2.0844
1935 (1935) Two reliefs Plaster Within building – at entrance to council chamber and entrance to committee reception room.<0ref name="NoszlopySBC" />
St. Nicholas Rescuing the Three Children John Shelton School, Coventry (former) 1936 (1936) Lost after the school was demolished in 1999[12]
  Bear and Staff The Bear Inn, Stratford Road, Sparkhill

52°26′54″N 1°51′40″W / 52.448235°N 1.861201°W / 52.448235; -1.861201
c. 1937 (1937) Bas-relief Pub sign, depicting feature of the arms of Warwickshire, in which the area was located at the time of installation.[10]
More images
Lamp of Knowledge Perry Common Library

52°32′08″N 1°52′32″W / 52.535590°N 1.875583°W / 52.535590; -1.875583
c. 1934 (1934) Bas-relief stone [10]
More images
Spirit of Knowledge Yardley Wood Library

52°25′07″N 1°51′35″W / 52.41856°N 1.85970°W / 52.41856; -1.85970
c. 1936 (1936) Bas-relief stone [10]
Work Location
(Birmingham unless stated)
Date Picture Coordinates
(With links to map and aerial photo sources)
Brookvale Pub, sign with putto and grapes Erdington c. 1934 (1934)   52°30′50″N 1°51′27″W / 52.51399°N 1.85737°W / 52.51399; -1.85737 Painted stone pub sign.[10]
Huntsman and Dog, pub sign The Green Man Pub, High Street, Harborne c. 1940 (1940)   52°27′41″N 1°56′35″W / 52.46138°N 1.94301°W / 52.46138; -1.94301 Painted wooden pub sign.[10]
Library Emblem Yardley Library, Yardley 1938 (1938)   52°27′40″N 1°48′58″W / 52.461°N 1.816°W / 52.461; -1.816
Apollo fountain Coronation Gardens, Ednam Road, Dudley 1939 (1939)   52°30′46″N 2°05′00″W / 52.51277°N 2.08337°W / 52.51277; -2.08337 Sculpture on top of fountain[11] The model was international gymnast and basketball player Fred Starkey.[13] The plaster models are in the collection of Birmingham Museums Trust.[14]
Josiah Mason Now at the junction of Chester Road & Orphanage Road in Erdington 1952 (1952)   52°31′54″N 1°49′30″W / 52.531556°N 1.825128°W / 52.531556; -1.825128 Bronze bust, recast from a marble statue (subsequently destroyed) by Francis John Williamson of 1885, which stood opposite Mason Science College in Edmund Street[10]
Engineering, bas-relief Mechanical Engineering Building at the University of Birmingham 1954 (1954)   52°26′57″N 1°56′06″W / 52.44928°N 1.93509°W / 52.44928; -1.93509 [10]
Aesculapius Medical School, University of Birmingham c. 1938 (c. 1938)   52°27′07″N 1°56′17″W / 52.45190°N 1.93813°W / 52.45190; -1.93813 [10]
John Skirrow Wright Birmingham Council House 1956 (1956)   52°28′48″N 1°54′10″W / 52.480082°N 1.902760°W / 52.480082; -1.902760 Bronze bust cast from a marble statue (subsequently destroyed) by Francis John Williamson[10]
St. Alphege St. Alphege CofE Infants School, New Road, Solihull 1959 (1959)   52°24′41″N 1°46′28″W / 52.41148°N 1.77450°W / 52.41148; -1.77450 Restored in 1994[12]
Mermaid fountain University of Birmingham Guild of Students 1960 (1960)   52°26′57″N 1°55′38″W / 52.44927°N 1.927225°W / 52.44927; -1.927225 Bronze[10]
Mermaid  University of Birmingham Guild of Students 1960 (1960)   52°26′58″N 1°55′39″W / 52.44951°N 1.92741°W / 52.44951; -1.92741 Clipsham stone sculpture, on wall[10]
Decoration The Mermaid (public house), Sparkhill c. 1960 (1960)   52°27′25″N 1°52′08″W / 52.456861°N 1.868761°W / 52.456861; -1.868761 (Bas-relief pub sign attributed to Alan Bridgewater[10])
Bust of Wilfred Byng Kenrick Byng Kenrick Grammar School For Girls 1962 (1962) (unveiled 1963) Bronze. Lost, believed stolen.[10])
Coat of Arms Dental Hospital c. 1973 (1973)   52°29′09″N 1°53′42″W / 52.485875°N 1.895101°W / 52.485875; -1.895101 Fibreglass. Now removed.[10]
Head of Man Royal Birmingham Society of Artists undated   Plaster[9]
Sermon to the Birds St Francis of Assisi's Church, Bournville 1933   52°25′44″N 1°56′08″W / 52.42902°N 1.93558°W / 52.42902; -1.93558 Oak Wood. Part of Grade II listed building.[10]
Ten panels in ceiling Moseley School (old assembly hall) undated   52°26′26″N 1°51′52″W / 52.44066°N 1.86433°W / 52.44066; -1.86433 Plaster[15] (Full image set at   Media related to Moseley School assembly hall ceiling panels at Wikimedia Commons).
Sun and lettering Sun Insurance Building, Bennetts Hill 1927   52°28′48″N 1°54′01″W / 52.47991°N 1.90025°W / 52.47991; -1.90025 Stone bas-relief[10]

  Media related to Bloye sculptures on Sun Insurance Building, Bennetts Hill at Wikimedia Commons).

Heraldic sculptures (also Bronze statue of girl in fountain in courtyard) Fountain Court, Steelhouse Lane 1964   52°29′01″N 1°53′42″W / 52.48370°N 1.89494°W / 52.48370; -1.89494 Stone bas-relief. Statue of girl in private courtyard.[10]   Media related to Bloye sculptures at Fountain Court Building, Steelhouse Lane at Wikimedia Commons.
Mother and Child, Young Child Playing 90 Lancaster Street, Birmingham c1935   52°29′14″N 1°53′37″W / 52.48731°N 1.89370°W / 52.48731; -1.89370 Stone bas-relief[10]
Maternity Carnegie Welfare Institute, Hunter's Road, Hockley c1923-6   52°29′50″N 1°54′55″W / 52.49712°N 1.91522°W / 52.49712; -1.91522 Painted mahogany[10]
The Good Shepherd and Latin Cross Christ Church, Burney Lane, Ward End c1935     52°29′23″N 1°49′17″W / 52.48984°N 1.82130°W / 52.48984; -1.82130 Stone bas-relief[10]
Christ All Saints church, Coneyford Road, Shard End 1951–5   52°29′40″N 1°46′34″W / 52.49454°N 1.77601°W / 52.49454; -1.77601 Stone[10]
Lion Pediment and Seated Craftsmen Supreme Works, 186 Soho Hill, Handsworth c1922     52°30′01″N 1°55′16″W / 52.50018°N 1.92123°W / 52.50018; -1.92123 (Lion Pediment and Seated Craftsmen) Stone bas-relief.[10]   Media related to Supreme Works, 186 Soho Hill, Birmingham at Wikimedia Commons.
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  1. ^ "William James Bloye ARBS". Mapping the Practice and Profession of Sculpture in Britain and Ireland 1851–1951. University of Glasgow History of Art. Retrieved 17 July 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Life of Birmingham sculptor William Bloye commemorated". City College. December 2010. Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
  3. ^ "Ornamental Fountain". National Recording Project. Public Monument and Sculpture Association. Retrieved 28 October 2010.
  4. ^ a b "The mystery of the headless statue". Birmingham Newsroom. Birmingham City Council. 17 January 2011. Retrieved 17 January 2011.
  5. ^ Anon (1930). "The Spring Exhibition, 1930 (catalogue)". RBSA. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  6. ^ a b Anon (1948). "Royal Birmingham Society of Artists Autumn Exhibition 1948 (catalogue)". RBSA. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  7. ^ Anon (1961). "The Second Spring Exhibition, 1961 (catalogue)". RBSA. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  8. ^ RBSA catalogues, 1962 onwards
  9. ^ a b RBSA archives, catalogue number B43
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al Noszlopy, George T. (1998). Public Sculpture of Birmingham including Sutton Coldfield. Public Sculpture of Britain. 2. Liverpool University Press. ISBN 0-85323-682-8.
  11. ^ a b c d e Noszlopy, George T. (2005). Public Sculpture of Staffordshire and the Black Country. Public Sculpture of Britain. 9. Liverpool University Press. ISBN 978-0-85323-999-4.
  12. ^ a b c Noszlopy, George T. (2003). Public Sculpture of Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull. Public Sculpture of Britain. 6. Liverpool University Press. ISBN 0-85323-847-2.
  13. ^ Anon (2 April 2001). "Former city man tribute". Birmingham Evening Mail. Archived from the original on 29 March 2015. – via HighBeam Research, subscription needed
  14. ^ Accession numbers: 1991P111; 1991P112
  15. ^ The Moseleians Association – Moseley School and the work of William Bloye (1890–1975)