Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Thrupp, Frederick
THRUPP, FREDERICK (1812–1895), sculptor, youngest son of Joseph Thrupp of Paddington Green, London, by Mary Pillow (d. 1845), his second wife, was born on 20 June 1812. The family had been settled for many years near Worcester, but Joseph migrated to London about 1765, and from 1774 conducted a coach factory in George Street, Grosvenor Square. By his first wife, Mary Burgon, Joseph was father of Dorothea Ann, the hymn-writer (see below), and of John Augustus Thrupp (1785–1814), the father of John Thrupp [q. v.], and of Charles Joseph Thrupp, the father of Admiral Arthur Thomas Thrupp (1828–1889), who served in the Baltic in 1854–5, in the China war in 1858, and on the coast of America during the civil war in 1862–4.
Frederick went to the Rev. W. Greenlaw's school at Blackheath, where he remained till about 1828. He then joined the academy of Henry Sass [q. v.] in Bloomsbury, to cultivate a taste for modelling and drawing, which showed itself very early in life. At Sass's he was a contemporary of John Callcott Horsley [q. v.], then and always one of his closest friends. In 1829 he won a silver medal from the Society of Arts for a chalk drawing from a bust. He was admitted to the antique school of the Royal Academy on 15 June 1830. His first exhibit at the Royal Academy was a piece of sculpture, ‘The Prodigal Returned,’ 1832. This was followed by a bust of J. H. Pope, 1833, a bust of B. E. Hall, and ‘Mother bending over her Sleeping Infant,’ 1835, and ‘Contemplation,’ 1836.
On 15 Feb. 1837 Thrupp started for Rome, accompanied by James Uwins, nephew of Thomas Uwins, R.A. [q. v.], and arrived there on 17 March. ‘The Young Hunter’ and ‘Mother and Children’ were exhibited at the Royal Academy in this year, but he did not exhibit again till 1841. He then sent a small ‘Magdalen’ in marble, finished in December 1840, being a repetition of a work in plaster which had cost him a whole year of diligent labour, for he found that his English training had been very inadequate in the modelling of drapery. While at Rome he profited greatly by the advice and encouragement of John Gibson (1790–1866) [q. v.], who admired his ‘Ferdinand,’ modelled soon after his arrival in 1837, and obtained several private commissions for him. Gibson induced him to abandon a taste for caricature. Thrupp also made the acquaintance of Thorwaldsen, and formed lasting friendships with many of his contemporaries among the English colony of artists at Rome, including William Theed, jun., Richard James Wyatt, Joseph Severn, Penry Williams, Edward Lear, and others. While still at Rome he finished ‘Arethusa,’ a life-sized recumbent nymph, exhibited in 1843, which subsequently passed into the hands of John Duke, first lord Coleridge; ‘Hebe with the Eagle,’ and ‘Boys with a Basket of Fruit,’ both exhibited in 1844, and several other works in marble. He spent his summer holidays in England in 1839 and 1841, and finally returned to London in October 1842, when he took a house at No. 232 Marylebone Road (then called the New Road), where he built a large gallery and studio. He let most of the house and lived himself at 15 Paddington Green (the house where he was born) till, on his mother's death in 1845, his two unmarried sisters joined him in the Marylebone Road. Here he lived for forty years, leading an industrious life, varied only by occasional holidays spent with friends in England or France.
His principal public commissions were for the statue of Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton, 1846, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1848, and placed near the monument to Wilberforce in the north transept of Westminster Abbey; two statues for the House of Lords, 1847; ‘Timon of Athens’ for the Mansion House, 1853; and the statue of Wordsworth for the baptistery of Westminster Abbey. At the great exhibition of 1851 he gained two medals for ‘The Maid and Mischievous Boy,’ a life-sized plaster group, first exhibited in 1847, now at Winchester; and ‘The Boy and the Butterfly’ in marble, exhibited in 1850, and sold in 1885 to a private owner at York. He continued to exhibit statues, bas-reliefs, or busts at the Royal Academy almost every year till 1880. The subjects were sometimes classical, sometimes modern, but more frequently religious. He modelled several isolated subjects from Bunyan's ‘Pilgrim's Progress,’ as well as a series of ten bas-reliefs. He exhibited in 1860 a statue of John Bunyan, and in 1868 a pair of bronze doors with ten subjects from the book, which were purchased by the Duke of Bedford and presented to the Bunyan Chapel, Bedford. The plaster models for these doors were presented by the sculptor to the Baptist College, Regent's Park, in 1880. Another pair of doors, with bronze panels illustrating George Herbert's poems, were exhibited with other works by Thrupp, including sixty terra-cotta statuettes, a marble bust of Wordsworth, and some bas-reliefs, at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, in the winter of 1887–8, and the doors were afterwards accepted by Dr. Westcott as a gift to the divinity school at Cambridge, where they were placed in the library. Thrupp executed the monument to Lady Coleridge at Ottery St. Mary's, Devonshire; the reredos representing the Last Supper in St. Clement's, York; and the monument to Canon Pearson [see under Pearson, Hugh Nicholas] in Sonning Church, Berkshire, in 1883. His last work was a plaster bust of Mr. E. Vivian, which he presented to the Torquay School of Art in 1888.
Late in life, on 11 July 1885, Thrupp married Sarah Harriet Ann Frances, eldest daughter of John Thurgar of Norwich and Algiers, who survived him. He spent the winter of 1885–6 in Algiers, making studies of the Arabs and their costume. The following winter was passed at San Remo, and he visited the Pyrenees in the spring. In 1887 he left the Marylebone Road and bought a house at Torquay. In 1889 he visited Antwerp, Brussels, and Cologne. The years 1892–4 were spent in negotiations for the ultimate disposal of the large number of works in marble and plaster, with about 150 small studies in terra-cotta, and numerous drawings, which remained on his hands. By the intervention of the dowager countess of Northesk, it was ultimately arranged with the mayor and corporation of Winchester that his works should find a home in that city, and in 1894 he sent on loan, as a first instalment, four marble statues—‘Eve,’ ‘The Prodigal Son,’ ‘Hebe,’ and ‘Boys with Fruit’—and twenty works in plaster. The Thrupp gallery, in the ancient abbey buildings in the public garden adjoining the Guildhall, was inaugurated on 8 Nov. 1894. Thrupp bequeathed all his property, including his remaining works, to his wife, but in accordance with his wishes they will be presented to the city of Winchester; they remain meanwhile at Torquay.
Failing eyesight, followed by paralysis agitans in 1893, compelled him to abandon active work. He died at Thurlow, Torquay, of influenza and pneumonia, on 21 March 1895, and was buried on 26 March in the Torquay cemetery. Joseph Francis Thrupp [q. v.] was his nephew.
In addition to his work as a sculptor, Thrupp designed and engraved in outline illustrations to ‘Paradise Lost.’ He also illustrated in lithography ‘The Ancient Mariner’ and ‘The Prisoner of Chillon,’ and drew a series of views of Ilfracombe on the stone. He was a rapid and accurate draughtsman with pen or pencil, but had little sense of colour and did not paint except in monochrome. His modelling was rapid and sure when he had overcome the initial difficulties.
The sculptor's half-sister, Dorothea Ann Thrupp (1779–1847), the eldest daughter of Joseph Thrupp by his first wife, Mary Burgon (d. 1795), born in London on 20 June 1779, contributed under the signature ‘Iota’ to some of the juvenile magazines edited by Caroline Fry, and wrote several hymns: one, ‘A little ship was on the sea,’ a great favourite with children. Besides some little manuals, including ‘Songs by the Way’ and ‘Thoughts for the Day’ (1836–7), she published translations from Pascal and Fénelon. She died at Hamilton Place, St. John's Wood, in November 1847.
[Athenæum, 30 March 1895; Torquay Directory, 27 March 1895; Royal Academy Exhibition Catalogues; information from Mrs. Thrupp and from C. J. Bruce Angier, esq. For Dorothea, see Julian's Dict. of Hymnology; Garret Horder's Hymn Lover, p. 447; notes supplied by Miss Fell Smith.]