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Goscombe John





Goscombe John
Sir William Goscombe John R.A. (21 February 1860 – 15 December 1952), was a Welsh sculptor.

He was born in Cardiff and as a youth assisted his father, a wood carver, in the restoration of Cardiff Castle. He went to London in 1882 and studied at the City and Guilds of London Art School (then known as the South London School of Technical Art) under Jules Dalou and William Silver Frith and afterward at the Academy schools, where he won the gold medal and a traveling scholarship in 1887. In 1890--91 he studied in Paris. He married Swiss-born Marthe Weiss. Their daughter Muriel married the son of artist Sir Luke Fildes.

Goscombe John was commissioned to design many public monuments and statues of public figures such as the shipping magnate and philanthropist John Cory; John's statue of the latter was erected in front of City Hall, Cardiff. In 1921 he designed the memorial at Port Sunlight to the employees of Lever Brothers Ltd who had died in World War I; he also sculpted portraits of Lord and Lady Lever. He received a gold medal in Paris in 1901, was made a Royal Academician in 1909, was knighted in 1911, and became corresponding member of the French Institute. He settled in Greville Road, Kilburn, London (in a house that had previously belonged to Seymour Lucas), and is buried in Hampstead Cemetery. The memorial statue of his wife, which he designed when she died in 1923, was stolen from the cemetery in 2001 but recovered after a few months; it was put into secure storage, but was again stolen in early 2007.

His art usually strives to reproduce the severe dignity of the Gothic style and excels in skillful and delicate modeling. Among the best of his ideal works are "Morpheus" and "St. John the Baptist" (Cardiff Gallery); "The Elf" (Glasgow Gallery); "Boy at Play" (Tate Gallery); "Study of a Head" (Liverpool Gallery).

His portraits, which are faithful likenesses, include the seated statue of the Duke of Devonshire, at Eastbourne, King Edward VII, at Cape Town; Prince Christian Victor, at Windsor; the historian Lecky at Trinity College, Dublin, and the equestrian statue of the Earl of Minto, at Calcutta.

Among his memorial monuments are those to the Marquis of Salisbury, in Westminster Abbey and Hatfield Church; to Sir Arthur Sullivan, in St. Paul's Cathedral, and to the Coldstream Guards and War Correspondents, also in St. Paul's. Sir John's work at the 1916 Memorial to the Engine Room Heroes in Liverpool, designed to commemorate engineers on the RMS Titanic, is notable for its relative modernity.


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