Munro, Alexander (DNB00)

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MUNRO, ALEXANDER (1825–1871), sculptor, born in 1825, was son of a stonemason in Sutherlandshire. His artistic abilities were discovered by the Duchess of Sutherland, the wife of the second duke, who assisted him in his art and general education [cf. Leveson-Gower, Harriet Elizabeth Georgiana]. Among the works which he executed for her were ‘The Four Seasons’ on the terrace at Cliveden. Munro came to London in 1848, and was employed for some time on the stone carving for the now Houses of Parliament. He exhibited for the first time at the Royal Academy in 1849, sending two busts, and was a regular annual contributor during the remainder of his life. His main work was portrait-sculpture, especially in relief, though he occasionally executed subject groups, such as ‘Paolo e Francesea’ (Royal Academy, 1852), ‘Undine’ (Royal Academy, 1858), and the statue of a nymph, which forms the drinking fountain erected by the Marquis of Lansdowne in Berkeley Square. Among his larger works were a statue of Queen Mary for the Houses of Parliament, a colossal statue of James Watt for Birmingham, and a colossal bust of Sir Robert Peel for the memorial at oldham. Among the many notable people of whom he exhibited portrait-busts or medallions at the Royal Academy were Lady Constance Grosvenor (1853), Sir John Millais, Lady Alwyne Compton, and Baron Bunsen (1854), Right Hon. W. E. Gladstone (1855), Adelaide Ristori 1858), Mrs. George Murray Smith (1859), William Hunt, the watercolour painter (1862), Sir James Stephen (1866), and the Duchess of Vallombrosa (1869). All Munro's work was sketchy and wanting in strength, but full of refinement and true feeling. He was by nature small and delicate, and before reaching middle age was attacked by lung disease, which slowly undermined his constitution. He lived for some time at 152 Buckingham Palace Road; but being compelled to reside most of the year at Cannes, he built himself a house and studio there, where he continued to work at his profession till his death, on 1 Jan. 1871.

Munro married a daughter of Robert Carruthers [q. v.], editor of the ‘Inverness Courier.’ She died in 1872 at Cannes, and was buried with her husband. By her Munro had two sons.

Munro was popular in cultivated and artistic society. Among his friends were John Ruskin—who stood godfather to one of his sons—Louis Blanc, and Giuseppe Mazzini.

[Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Times, 13 Jan. 1871; Royal Academy Catalogues; private information.]

L. C.