William Bloye

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


Bloye 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 Bloye 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]

Bloye 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 of 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 became a member only 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.

Selected public worksEdit


Image Title / subject Location and
Date Type Material Dimensions Designation Owner / administrator Notes
  Allegories of Art and Industry Above 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]
  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]


Image Title / subject Location and
Date Type Material Dimensions Designation Owner / administrator Notes
More images
Lion Pediment and Seated Craftsmen Supreme Works, 186 Soho Hill, Handsworth

52°30′01″N 1°55′16″W / 52.50018°N 1.92123°W / 52.50018; -1.92123
1922 (1922) Bas-relief Stone [10]
  Maternity Carnegie Welfare Institute, Hunter's Road, Hockley

52°29′50″N 1°54′55″W / 52.49712°N 1.91522°W / 52.49712; -1.91522
c.1923-6 Painted mahogany [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]
More images
Sun and lettering Sun Insurance Building, Bennetts Hill

52°28′48″N 1°54′01″W / 52.47991°N 1.90025°W / 52.47991; -1.90025
1927 Bas-relief Stone [10]
  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.
  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[11]
  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]
  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. Attributed.[10]
  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]


Image Title / subject Location and
Date Type Material Dimensions Designation Owner / administrator Notes
  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 Relief carving Stone [10]
More images
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]
  Sermon to the Birds St Francis of Assisi's Church, Bournville

52°25′44″N 1°56′08″W / 52.42902°N 1.93558°W / 52.42902; -1.93558
1933 Oak Part of Grade II listed building.[10]
  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]
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]
  Brookvale Pub Erdington

52°30′50″N 1°51′27″W / 52.51399°N 1.85737°W / 52.51399; -1.85737
1934 Pub sign with putto and grapes Painted stone [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.[11]
More images
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]
  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]
  Mother and Child, Young Child Playing 90 Lancaster Street, Birmingham

52°29′14″N 1°53′37″W / 52.48731°N 1.89370°W / 52.48731; -1.89370
c.1935 Bas-relief Stone [10]
  The Good Shepherd and Latin Cross Christ Church, Ward End

52°29′23″N 1°49′17″W / 52.48984°N 1.82130°W / 52.48984; -1.82130
c.1935 Bas-relief Stone [10]
  Royal Oak Lozells

52°30′10″N 1°54′02″W / 52.502687°N 1.900501°W / 52.502687; -1.900501
c.1936 Stone Decoration around the doorway of a former pub (now a shop). Formerly brightly painted.[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 Stone Bloye was responsible for all the stone carving on this brick building[10]
St. Nicholas Rescuing the Three Children John Shelton School, Coventry (former) 1936 Lost after the school was demolished in 1999[12]
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 Bas-relief stone [10]
  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 Bas-relief Pub sign, depicting symbol of Warwickshire, in which the area was located at the time of installation.[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 Wood Painted pub sign with model of a boar's head, on a pole.[10] Taken from the arms of the Gough-Calthorpe family of nearby Perry Hall
  Library Emblem Yardley Library, Yardley

52°27′40″N 1°48′58″W / 52.461°N 1.816°W / 52.461; -1.816
  Aesculapius Medical School, University of Birmingham

52°27′07″N 1°56′17″W / 52.45190°N 1.93813°W / 52.45190; -1.93813
c.1938 [10]
  Apollo fountain Coronation Gardens, Ednam Road, Dudley

52°30′46″N 2°05′00″W / 52.51277°N 2.08337°W / 52.51277; -2.08337
1939 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]
  Huntsman and Dog The Green Man Pub, High Street, Harborne

52°27′41″N 1°56′35″W / 52.46138°N 1.94301°W / 52.46138; -1.94301
c.1940 Pub sign Painted wood [10]


Image Title / subject Location and
Date Type Material Dimensions Designation Owner / administrator Notes
More images
Queen Victoria Victoria Square

52°28′47″N 1°54′11″W / 52.479628°N 1.902998°W / 52.479628; -1.902998
1951 Statue on pedestal Bronze and stone Birmingham City Council Recast from a 1901 marble statue by Thomas Brock[10][15]
  Christ All Saints' Church, Shard End

52°29′40″N 1°46′34″W / 52.49454°N 1.77601°W / 52.49454; -1.77601
1951–5 Statue in niche Stone [10]
More images
Josiah Mason Junction of Chester Road & Orphanage Road, Erdington

52°31′54″N 1°49′30″W / 52.531556°N 1.825128°W / 52.531556; -1.825128
1952 Bust on plinth Bronze Cast from a 1885 marble statue (subsequently destroyed) by Francis John Williamson, which stood opposite Mason Science College in Edmund Street[10]
  Engineering Mechanical Engineering Building, University of Birmingham

52°26′57″N 1°56′06″W / 52.44928°N 1.93509°W / 52.44928; -1.93509
1954 Bas-relief [10]
More images
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) Three statues on plinth Gilded bronze Birmingham City Council Matthew Boulton, James Watt and William Murdoch[15]
  John Skirrow Wright Birmingham Council House

52°28′48″N 1°54′10″W / 52.480082°N 1.902760°W / 52.480082; -1.902760
1956 Bust Bronze Cast from a marble statue (subsequently destroyed) by Francis John Williamson[10]
  St. Alphege St. Alphege CofE Infants School, New Road, Solihull

52°24′41″N 1°46′28″W / 52.41148°N 1.77450°W / 52.41148; -1.77450
1959 Restored in 1994[12]


Image Title / subject Location and
Date Type Material Dimensions Designation Owner / administrator Notes
  Mermaid fountain University of Birmingham Guild of Students

52°26′57″N 1°55′38″W / 52.44927°N 1.927225°W / 52.44927; -1.927225
1960 Fountain Bronze [10]
  Mermaid University of Birmingham Guild of Students

52°26′58″N 1°55′39″W / 52.44951°N 1.92741°W / 52.44951; -1.92741
1960 Wall mounted sculpture Stone [10]
  Decoration The Mermaid (public house), Sparkhill

52°27′25″N 1°52′08″W / 52.456861°N 1.868761°W / 52.456861; -1.868761
c.1960 Bas-relief pub sign attributed to Alan Bridgewater[10]
  Ceres - Goddess of Corn CB1, Mill Park, Cambridge 1962 Sculpture Bronze and concrete [16]
Wilfred Byng Kenrick Byng Kenrick Grammar School For Girls 1962, unveiled 1963 Bust Bronze Lost, believed stolen.[10]
More images
Heraldic sculptures Fountain Court, Steelhouse Lane

52°29′01″N 1°53′42″W / 52.48370°N 1.89494°W / 52.48370; -1.89494
1964 Bas-reliefs Stone A bronze statue of a girl in a fountain in a private courtyard at the same location is by Bloye.[10]
  Coat of Arms Birmingham Dental Hospital

52°29′09″N 1°53′42″W / 52.485875°N 1.895101°W / 52.485875; -1.895101
c.1973 Fibreglass Now removed.[10]

Date unknownEdit

Image Title / subject Location and
Date Type Material Dimensions Designation Owner / administrator Notes
  Head of Man Royal Birmingham Society of Artists Plaster [9]
More images
Ten ceiling panels Old Assembly Hall, Moseley School

52°26′26″N 1°51′52″W / 52.44066°N 1.86433°W / 52.44066; -1.86433
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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 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 f 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. ^ a b A User's Guide to Public Sculpture. English Heritage / PMSA. 2000. ISBN 185074776-8.
  16. ^ "Trail 1 - South Cambridge". Cambridge Sculpture Trails. Retrieved 18 August 2020.
  17. ^ The Moseleians Association – Moseley School and the work of William Bloye (1890–1975)