Hamo Thornycroft

Sir (William) Hamo Thornycroft RA (March 9, 1850–December 18, 1925) was a British sculptor, responsible for several London landmarks.

Hamo Thornycroft belonged to a family of sculptors. His father, Thomas and mother Mary and grandfather John Francis were all distinguished sculptors. He was born in London. His brother, John Isaac Thornycroft, became a successful naval engineer, and their sister, Theresa, was the mother of the poet Siegfried Sassoon. Hamo's early training was with his parents and he developed a passionate and precocious attachment to Classical sculpture. He subsequently studied at the Royal Academy of Arts, where his primary influence was the painter-sculptor Frederic Leighton. Hamo won the Gold Medal of the Royal Academy in 1876, with the statue "Warrior Bearing a Wounded Youth". He was the leading figure in the movement known as the New Sculpture. His close personal friend, the critic Edmund Gosse, coined the term "The New Sculpture" in 1894 and formulated its early principles from his relationship with Thornycroft. Thornycroft created a series of statues in the ideal genre in the late 1870s and early 1880s that sought to reanimate the format of the classical statue. These included "Lot's Wife" (1878), "Artemis and her Hound" (1880 plaster, 1882 marble), the Homeric bowman "Teucer" (1881 plaster, 1882 bronze), and the "Mower" (1884 plaster, 1894 bronze), arguably the first life-size freestanding statue of a contemporary laborer in nineteenth-century sculpture. Thornycroft was one of the youngest artists to be elected to the Royal Academy, in 1882, the same year the bronze cast of "Teucer" was purchased for the British nation under the auspices of the Chantrey Bequest. After 1884, Thornycroft's reputation was secure and he received commissions for a number of major monuments, most notably the innovative General Gordon. Thornycroft continued to be a central member of the sculptural establishment and the Royal Academy into the twentieth century. He was knighted in 1917. He increasingly became reactionary and resistant to the new developments in sculpture, even though it was his work of the early 1880s that helped catalyze sculpture in the United Kingdom toward developing new directions. In sum, he provided an important transition between the neoclassical and academic styles of the nineteenth century and its fin-de-siècle and modernist departures.

Bibliography

*Beattie, Susan. "The New Sculpture." New Haven: Yale University Press, 1983.
*Friedman, Terry, ed. "The Alliance of Sculpture and Architecture." Leeds: Henry Moore Institute, 1993.
*Getsy, David. "Body Doubles: Sculpture in Britain, 1877-1905." New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2004.
*Gosse, Edmund. "Our Living Artists: Hamo Thornycroft, A.R.A." "Magazine of Art" 4 (1881).
*Manning, Elfrida. "Marble and Bronze: The Art and Life of Hamo Thornycroft." London: Trefoil Books, 1982.
*Read, Benedict. "Victorian Sculpture." New Haven: Yale University Press, 1982.
*White, Adam. "Hamo Thornycroft and the Martyr General." Leeds: Henry Moore Institute, 1991.

Public Statues

*Alfred the Great - Winchester
*W. E. Gladstone in robes of Lord Rector of Glasgow University - Glasgow
*Oliver Cromwell - outside the Palace of Westminster
*General Gordon - Victoria Embankment
*John Bright - Rochdale
*Sir Daniel Dixon - Belfast City Hall
*Cecil John Rhodes - Kimberley, Northern Cape

Architectural

* [http://www.artandarchitecture.org.uk/images/conway/6a830dd9.html Friezes] for the Institute of Chartered Accountants building

External links

* [http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/walker/collections/19c/Thornycroft.asp The Mower] in the [http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/walker/ Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool]
* [http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/speel/sculpt/thorny.htm Biography on Bob Speel's Site]
* [http://www.victorianweb.org/sculpture/thornycroft/hamoov.html The Victorian Web, featuring links to images of works]


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