Alfred Drury

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Alfred Drury
Born11 November 1856
Islington, London
Died24 December 1944(1944-12-24) (aged 88)
Lancaster Lodge, Wimbledon, London
NationalityBritish
Alma mater
Known forSculpture

Edward Alfred Briscoe Drury RA (11 November 1856 – 24 December 1944) was a British architectural sculptor and artist active in the New Sculpture movement. During a long career Drury created a great number of decorative figures such as busts and statuettes plus larger monuments, war memorials, statues of royalty and architectural pieces. During the opening years of the 20th-century he was among the foremost architectural sculptors active in Britain and in that period created the series of works in central London for which he is perhaps now best known. These include the figures on the Old War Office building in Whitehall, elements of the facade of the Victoria and Albert Museum and four of the colossal statues on Vauxhall Bridge.[1][2][3]

Biography[edit]

Education and training[edit]

Drury was born in Islington, London but raised in Oxford , where his father was a pub landlord.[1] Drury studied at the Oxford School of Art and then at the National Art Training School in South Kensington, where his teachers included Jules Dalou and, later, Édouard Lantéri.[2] Drury won gold medals in National Art Competitions in 1879, 1880 and 1881 before moving to Paris where he worked as an assistant to Dalou until 1885.[2][4] When he returned to London he worked as an assistant to the sculptor Joseph Edgar Boehm and began establishing himself as an independent artist.[1][4] In 1885 Drury showed his first work at the Royal Academy, a terracotta copy of a sculpture by Dilou, The Triumph of Silenus.[2] Also during 1885, he had pieces shown at exhibitions in both Paris and Brussels.[4] While his early exhibition pieces, such as 1886s' The First Lesson, clearly showed the impact of his time in France, Drury soon became associated with the British New Sculpture movement.[2] Both Circe, from 1895, and Griselda of 1896 were typical of the allegorical female figures from mythology and literature that were key subjects of the movement and both sculptures were reproduced in several different sizes in bronze and marble by Drury in subsequent years.[2][5]

Early commissions[edit]

Blackwall Tunnel plaque (1897)

Alongside work on his exhibition pieces, Drury also began undertaking architectural commissions. In 1897, for example, he created a set of terracotta spandrels, representing Art and Design, for a coach builder's premises, now demolished, at Hammersmith in London and is thought to have completed other projects outside of London at this time for which records have been lost.[2] He is known to have completed the two low-relief bronze plaques, featuring the head of a river god and female figures, installed to mark the opening of the Blackwall Tunnel in 1897.[2] He collaborated with the architect Inigo Thomas on a decorative scheme for the gardens at Barrow Court near Bristol. Tasked with providing sculptures for twelve pillars along a boundary wall, Drury carved a sequence of female heads from a baby to that of an old women to represent the months of the year from January to December.[2] Drury's original life-size bronze version of Circe was purchased for a park in Leeds and is now in Leeds City Museum.[2] This led to him receiving several commissions in that city, including for the eight lamp standards representing Morning and Evening positioned in Leeds City Square.[2] Drury was awarded a gold medal at the 1900 Paris International Exhibition for a version of Circe and for a bust of a child, The Age of Innocence.[2][6] In 1905 Drury exhibited a new cast of the Evening head titled Spirit of the Night and in 1911 carved a marble version of the statue.[2]

The architect John Belcher hired Drury, and others, to create the external decoration for Electra House at Moorgate in central London in 1902, and he also employed him, the following year, to sculpt external features for the nearby offices of the Royal London Friendly Society in Finsbury Square.[7][2] For the latter scheme Drury carved several female faces and half-figures including a large keystone figure above the main entrance, consisting of the head of a woman wearing a bronze helmet and framed by oak and ivy branches.[2] The model for this composition was shown at the Royal Academy in 1904 and was widely praised.[2][8]

Major works[edit]

Victory and Fame, Old War Office Building

By 1904 Drury had become established as one of the foremost architectural sculptors active in Britain at the time and this led to the series of commissions for which he is perhaps best known, for the War Office in Whitehall, for the facade of the Victoria and Albert Museum and for Vauxhall Bridge.[2]

For the Old War Office Building on Horse Guards Avenue and Whitehall, Drury created four groups of two seated, twice life-size, female figures in Portland stone during 1904 and 1905. The pairs were The Sorrow of Peace opposite The Winged Messinger of Peace, the Horrors of War against the Dignity of War, Truth and Justice plus Victory and Fame.[2] The artistic choices Drury made with the pairings and the amount of detail he incorporated into the carvings drew much attention in the newspaper coverage of the new building. For example, the War pairing contrasted a figure of Minerva holding a sword and shield with a more fearful figure holding a skull while some of the figures had gilded bronze attachments such as Victory who holds a small gilded statuette and Truth who has a gilded mirror.[2] Although the works were 70 feet above street level it was reported that crowds of sightseers gathered to view them.[2]

In late 1904 the London County Council commissioned Drury and F. W. Pomeroy to each create four colossal bronze figures for niches on the piers supporting the new Vauxhall Bridge.[2] For the eastern, downstream, side of the bridge Drury created four female figures representing the Fine Arts, holding a statuette and palette, Science holding a globe, Education and Local Government.[2]

Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road entrance with statue of Albert, Prince Consort

By March 1905 Aston Webb, the architect of the Cromwell Road extension to the Victoria and Albert Museum had commissioned over twenty sculptors to provide statues, carvings and decorations for the facade of the building.[2] Webb allocated what he considered the most prominent areas to Drury and George Frampton.[2] The area over the main entrance arch was assigned to Frampton who created spandrel figures of Truth and Beauty for the space.[9] The area under the arch and the remainder of the main entrance were allocated to Drury.[9] Within the curve of entrance arch he created nine low-relief panels featuring kneeling or crouching female figures holding plaques with gold lettering that when read together form a quotation from Sir Joshua Reynolds.[9] Below the arch, and immediately above the main entrance, is his statue of Albert, Prince Consort and above the arch is Drury's statue of Queen Victoria, carrying a staff and flanked by figures of St George and St Michael.[9] Drury's work was singled out for praise in art press reviews when the overall scheme was completed in 1908.[2] The same year Webb commissioned Drury to produce a relief panel, of children at play, for the new offices of the Grand Trunk Railway Company in Cockspur Street in central London.[2]

Exhibition record[edit]

Drury was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy of Arts in 1900 and a full Academician in 1913.[3][10] He exhibited works at the Academy each year from 1885 to 1942 and at the Royal Scottish Academy between 1903 and 1917.[1] He also showed works at the Aberdeen Artists Society, the Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts and at Leeds City Art Gallery on a regular basis.[1] He was a member of the International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Gravers and, from 1899, a member of the Art Workers' Guild.[1] In 1932 Drury received the Royal Society of British Sculptors' silver medal for his statue of Joshua Reynolds in the courtyard of Burlington House in London.[11]

Drury died on Christmas Eve, 24 December 1944.[12][13]

Selected public works[edit]

1895-1904[edit]

Image Title / subject Location and
coordinates
Date Type Material Dimensions Designation Wikidata Notes
Circe Leeds Museum 24 May 2018 2.jpg
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Circe Leeds City Museum c. 1895 Statue group Bronze Grade II Q266566284 Previously sited at Central Gardens in Park Square and in Leeds City Art Gallery.[2][14][15]
Gatepiers, Gates And Series Of 12 Pillars Forming West Boundary Wall Of Garden At Barrow Court.JPG Daughters of the Year Barrow Court, Somerset c. 1897 12 busts on pillars Stone Grade II* Q17533935 [2][16]
Joseph Priestley statue.jpg
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Joseph Priestley Leeds City Square 1903 Statue on pedestal Bronze and granite Grade II Q26655864 [14][17]
City Square 24 May 2018 Even 1.jpg
More images
Morning and Evening Leeds City Square 1903 8 Streetlamps on blocks Bronze and granite Grade II [14][18][19]
London, Woolwich, Powis St, detail RACS building 04.jpg
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Alexander McLeod (1832–1902) Former RACS HQ, Powis Street, London 1903 Statue in niche Terracotta Grade II [20][21]
Statue of Queen Victoria, Portsmouth, UK.jpg
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Queen Victoria Guildhall Square, Portsmouth 1903 Statue on pedestal Bronze and granite Grade II Q26398294 [14][22]
South African War memorial, Quadrangle of Clifton College, Bristol.jpg
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1899–1902 South African War Memorial Quadrangle of Clifton College, Bristol 1904 Statue, of Saint George, on pedestal Bronze and Portland stone Grade II* Q26678257 Architects;- WS Paul & RC James.[23][24]
Queen Victoria, and small friend (7153477659).jpg
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Queen Victoria Princes Way, Bradford 1904 Statue on pedestal Bronze and stone Grade II Q26425844 [14][25][26]
Statue of byron, Nottingham castle, uk .jpg Lord Byron Nottingham Castle 1904 Bust on plinth Bronze and granite [14][25]

1905-1909[edit]

Image Title / subject Location and
coordinates
Date Type Material Dimensions Designation Wikidata Notes
Queen Victoria Statue, Kent Terrace, Wellington.jpg
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Queen Victoria Kent Terrace, Wellington, New Zealand 1905 Statue on pedestal Bronze and stone Category II Q79312013 [27][28]
Victoria & Albert Museum 03.jpg Albert, Prince Consort Facade of Victoria and Albert Museum, London c.1905–6 Statue in niche Stone [9]
Victoria & Albert Museum 04.jpg Queen Victoria, St George and St Michael Facade of Victoria and Albert Museum, London 1906 Statues in niches Stone [9]
20110604 London 66.JPG
More images
Fine Art, Science, Government & Education East side of Vauxhall Bridge, London 1907 Four statues Bronze Grade II* Q1142134 [29]
Hooker-Statue.jpeg
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Bishop Richard Hooker Cathedral Close, Exeter 1907 Statue on pedestal Marble and granite Grade II Q26398018 [14][30]
War Memorial, Queen's Gardens - geograph.org.uk - 676082.jpg
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South Lancashire Regiment, Boer War Memorial Queens Gardens, Warrington 1907 Statue on pedestal Bronze and stone Grade II Q26614958 [31][32]
Buckingham Palace IMG 9239.JPG South Africa Gate Queen Victoria Memorial Gardens, The Mall, London 1908 2 Pillars with sculptures Stone Grade I Part of Thomas Brock's Victoria Memorial, London[3]

1910–1919[edit]

Image Title / subject Location and
coordinates
Date Type Material Dimensions Designation Wikidata Notes
Statue of 8th Duke of Devonshire, King Edward's Parade, Eastbourne (NHLE Code 1353136) (October 2012).jpg
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Spencer Cavendish, 8th Duke of Devonshire King Edward's Parade, Eastbourne 1910 Statue on pedestal Bronze and granite Grade II Q26636085 [14][33]
Edward VII, Fitzalan Square.jpg Edward VII Fitzalan Square, Sheffield 1913 Statue on pedestal Bronze and granite Grade II Q26560636 [34]
Edward VII - geograph.org.uk - 1457039.jpg
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Edward VII Union Terrace, Aberdeen 1914 Statue on pedestal Granite Category B Q17770122 Pedestal by A.G.R. Mackenzie[35]
Statue of Charles Cameron Kingston, SA Premier 1893-99(GN01905).jpg Charles Kingston Victoria Square, Adelaide, Australia 1916 Statue on pedestal Bronze and marble [36]

1920–1931[edit]

Image Title / subject Location and
coordinates
Date Type Material Dimensions Designation Wikidata Notes
London Troops War Memorial 07.jpg
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London Troops War Memorial Royal Exchange, London 1920 Column with statues Stone and bronze Grade II* Q18575165 [3][14][37][38]
ANGEL OF PEACE.jpg
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War memorial Outside of St Mary's Church, Kidderminster 1922 Statue on pedestal with relief plaque Bronze and limestone Grade II Q26671170 [39][40]
Hertford War Memorial 01.jpg
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War memorial Parliament Square, Hertford, Hertfordshire 1922 Sculpture on pedestal Bronze and Portland stone Grade II Q26559085 Architect, Aston Webb[41][42]
Grove Park War Memorial2.jpg
More images
War memorial Grove Park, Weston-super-Mare 1922 Statue on pedestal Bronze and stone Grade II Q26677665 [43][44]
War memorial Lonsdale Quadrangle, Denstone College, Uttoxeter 1925 Statue of St George on pedestal Bronze and stone Grade II Q26524254 Architect, Aston Webb[45][46]
Statue of Sir Joshua Reynolds at the Royal Academy.jpg
More images
Statue of Joshua Reynolds Courtyard of Burlington House, London 1931 Statue on pedestal Bronze and stone 2.9m tall Grade II Q18123341 [14][47][48]

Other works[edit]

  • The Boer War Memorial, a plaque in deep relief, in the Cloisters at New College, Oxford
  • Rhodes University (Grahamstown) War Memorial to the 1914-1918 and 1939-1945 conflicts, depicting a medieval knight in armour and chain mail, with gauntletted hands resting on the hilt of his sword.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f University of Glasgow History of Art / HATII (2011). "Alfred Drury". Mapping the Practice and Profession of Sculpture in Britain & Ireland 1851–1951. Retrieved 20 December 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab Susan Beattie (1983). The New Sculpture. Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art / Yale University Press. ISBN 0300033591.
  3. ^ a b c d Mark Quinlan (2007). Sculptors and Architects of Remembrance. Sandy, Authors Online. ISBN 978-0755203-98-7.
  4. ^ a b c Martina Droth, Jason Edwards & Michael Hatt (2014). Sculpture Victorious: Art in the Age of Invention, 1837-1901. Yale Center for British Art, Yale University Press. ISBN 9780300208030.
  5. ^ Ian Chilvers (2004). The Oxford Dictionary of Art. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-860476-9.
  6. ^ "The Age of Innocence". Victoria and Albert Museum. Retrieved 21 December 2020.
  7. ^ "Electra House (now part of the London Guildhall University)". The Victorian Web. 24 July 2011. Retrieved 21 December 2020.
  8. ^ "Keystone to New Buildings Royal London Friendly Society". Academy Architecture 1904–1908. Royal Academy. Retrieved 21 December 2020.
  9. ^ a b c d e f "A grand entrance on Cromwell Road". Victoria & Albert Museum. Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  10. ^ "Lilith, 1916 Alfred Drury RA (1856–1944)". Royal Academy. Retrieved 21 December 2020.
  11. ^ Frances Spalding (1990). 20th Century Painters and Sculptors. Antique Collectors' Club. ISBN 1-85149-106-6.
  12. ^ "Alfred Drury, 88, British Sculptor. Londoner, Noted for Statue of Sir Joshua Reynolds, Dies. Works Seen by Millions". The New York Times. 25 December 1944. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
  13. ^ Mark Stocker (2004). Drury, (Edward) Alfred Briscoe (1856–1944). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Jo Darke (1991). The Monument Guide to England and Wales. Macdonald Illustrated. ISBN 0-356-17609-6.
  15. ^ Historic England. "Statue of Circe at West End of Central Garden (1375465)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 25 December 2020.
  16. ^ Historic England. "Gatepiers, Gates and series of 12 Pillars forming west boundary wall of formal garden at Barrow Court (1129171)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 20 December 2020.
  17. ^ Historic England. "Statue of Joseph Priestley (1375043)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 18 December 2020.
  18. ^ Historic England. "Four lamp posts: 'Even' (1255575)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 18 December 2020.
  19. ^ Historic England. "Four lamp posts: 'Morn' (1375012)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 18 December 2020.
  20. ^ Historic England. "Royal Arsenal Cooperative Society Headquarters Building (1289022)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 18 December 2020.
  21. ^ "Alexander McLeod". Vads / Public Monuments and Sculpture Association. Retrieved 31 December 2020.
  22. ^ Historic England. "Statue of Queen Victoria (1104315)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 18 December 2020.
  23. ^ Historic England. "Clifton College, South African War Memorial (1282343)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 18 December 2020.
  24. ^ "War Memorials Register: Clifton College - Boer War". Imperial War Museum. Retrieved 18 December 2020.
  25. ^ a b A User's Guide to Public Sculpture. English Heritage / PMSA. 2000. ISBN 185074776-8.
  26. ^ Historic England. "Victoria Memorial (1132899)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 18 December 2020.
  27. ^ "Queen Victoria Monument". Register of Historic Places. Heritage New Zealand. Retrieved 17 January 2021.
  28. ^ "Statue of Queen Victoria 1905". Yale Centre for British Art. Retrieved 23 January 2021.
  29. ^ Historic England. "Vauxhall Bridge (1393011)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 18 December 2020.
  30. ^ Historic England. "Statue of Bishop Hooker (1104024)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 18 December 2020.
  31. ^ "War Memorials Register:South Lancashire Regiment Second Boer War". Imperial War Museum. Retrieved 19 December 2020.
  32. ^ Historic England. "War Memorial to South Lancashire Regiment in Queen's Gardens (1329723)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 19 December 2020.
  33. ^ Historic England. "Statue of Spencer Cavendish, Eighth Duke of Devonshire KG (1833/1908) Mayor of Eastbourne 1897/98 (1353136)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 18 December 2020.
  34. ^ Historic England. "Statue of King Edward VII (1270597)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 19 December 2020.
  35. ^ Historic Environment Scotland. "Edward VII, Statue, Junction of Union Street and Union Terrace (Category B Listed Building) (LB20004)". Retrieved 18 December 2020.
  36. ^ Jude Elton (26 May 1916). "Charles Cameron Kingston Memorial". Adelaidia. Retrieved 19 December 2020.
  37. ^ Historic England. "The City and County of London Troops War Memorial, Non Civil Parish (1064714)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 18 December 2020.
  38. ^ "War Memorials Register: Men of the City and County of London". Imperial War Museum. Retrieved 18 December 2020.
  39. ^ Historic England. "Sculpture of the Angel of Peace at St Mary and All Saints Church (1391825)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 31 December 2020.
  40. ^ "War Memorials Register: Kidderminster". Imperial War Museum. Retrieved 31 December 2020.
  41. ^ Historic England. "Hertford War Memorial includingraised elliptical surround (1268806)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 18 December 2020.
  42. ^ "War Memorials Register: Hertford WW1 and WW2". Imperial War Museum. Retrieved 18 December 2020.
  43. ^ Historic England. "Grove Park War Memorial, Weston-super-Mare (1430882)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 19 December 2020.
  44. ^ "War Memorials Register: Weston Super Mare, Uphill and Kewstoke". Imperial War Museum. Retrieved 19 December 2020.
  45. ^ "War Memorials Register: Denstone College WW1 Figure". Imperial War Museum. Retrieved 19 December 2020.
  46. ^ Historic England. "War Memorial South West of Denstone College (1230583)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 31 May 2021.
  47. ^ Historic England. "Statue of Sir Joshua Reynolds in Burlington House Courtyard (1226714)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 18 December 2020.
  48. ^ John Blackwood (1989). London's Immortels. The Complete Outdoor Commemorative Statues. Savoy Press. ISBN 0951429604.

External links[edit]