1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Thornycroft, William Hamo

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THORNYCROFT, WILLIAM HAMO (1850-), British sculptor. A pupil of his father, Thomas Thornycroft, and of the Royal Academy schools, he was still a student when he was called upon to assist his father in carrying out the important fountain in Park Lane, London. He accordingly returned in 1871 to England from Italy, where he was studying, and modelled the figures of Shakespeare, Fame and Clio, which were rendered in marble and in bronze. In the following year he exhibited at the Royal Academy “Professor Sharpley,” in marble, for the memorial in University College; and “Mrs Mordant,” a relief-a form of art to which he has since devoted much attention. The “Fame,” already mentioned, was shown in 1873. Believing that the pendulum had overshot its swing from conventional classicality towards pictorial realism, he turned from the “fleshy” school towards the Greek, while realizing the artistic necessity for modern feeling. In 1875 his “Warrior Bearing a Wounded Youth from the Field of Battle” gained the gold medal at the Royal Academy schools, and when exhibited in 1876 it divided public attention with the “Tennyson” of Woolner and “Wellington monument” sculptures of Alfred Stevens, now in St Paul's Cathedral. Then followed the dramatic “Lot's Wife,” in marble (1878), and “Artemis” (1889), which for grace, elegance and purity of taste the sculptor never surpassed. He was thereupon elected an associate of the Royal Academy, and more than justified the selection by his “Teucer” of the following year, a bronze figure of extraordinary distinction which, bought for the Chantrey collection, is now in the National (Tate) Gallery of British Art. It is simple and severe, classic yet instinct with life and noble in form; and in it he touched the high-water mark of his career. Turning to the ideal, in works entirely modern in motive and treatment, Hamo Thornycroft produced “The Mower” (1884) and “A Sower” (1886); the “Stanley Memorial” in the old church at Holyhead partakes of the same character. Among the sculptor's principal statues are “The Bishop of Carlisle” (1895; Carlisle Cathedral), “General Charles Gordon” (Trafalgar Square, London), “Oliver Cromwell” (Westminster), “Dean Colet” (a bronze group—early Italianate in feeling—outside St Paul's School, Hammersmith), “King Alfred” (a colossal memorial for Winchester), the “Gladstone Monument” (in the Strand, London) and “Dr Mandell Creighton, Bishop of London” (bronze, erected in St Paul's Cathedral). Mr Thornycroft's other memorials, such as the “Queen Victoria Memorial” (Karachi), the “War Memorial” (at Durban) and the “Armstrong Memorial” (at Newcastle), are well known, and his portrait Statuary and medallions are numerous. He was elected a full academician in 1888, and an honorary member of the Royal Academy of Munich. He was awarded a medal of honour at the Paris Exhibition, 1900.

See M. H. Spielmann, British Sculpture and Sculptors of To-day (London, 1901).

 (M. H. S.)