Charles Sargeant Jagger

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Charles Sargeant Jagger
Jagger artillery memorial1.jpg
Detail from Jagger's Royal Artillery Memorial
Born17 December 1885
Died16 November 1934 (aged 48)
London, England
EducationSheffield School of Art, Royal College of Art
Known forsculpture, relief
Notable workRoyal Artillery Memorial, London
Henry Mond, 2nd Baron Melchett
AwardsBritish Prix de Rome, Military Cross
Patron(s)Imperial War Graves Commission (now Commonwealth War Graves Commission)
Sentry by Charles Sargeant Jagger

Charles Sargeant Jagger MC ARA (17 December 1885 – 16 November 1934) was a British sculptor who, following active service in the First World War, sculpted many works on the theme of war. He is best known for his war memorials, especially the Royal Artillery Memorial at Hyde Park Corner and the Great Western Railway War Memorial in Paddington Railway Station. He also designed several other monuments around Britain and other parts of the world.


Jagger was the son of a colliery manager, and was educated at Sheffield Royal Grammar School. At age 14 he became an apprentice metal engraver with the Sheffield firm Mappin & Webb.[1]

He studied at the Sheffield School of Art before moving to London to study sculpture at the Royal College of Art (1908–11) under Édouard Lantéri. Jagger worked as Lanteri's assistant, and also as instructor in modelling at the Lambeth School of Art. He counted among his friends William Reid Dick and William McMillan.[1] His early works dealt with classical and literary themes and were influenced by the New Sculpture movement in the focus on medievalism and on surface qualities.[2] His student work won him a travelling scholarship that made it possible for him to spend several months in Rome and Venice. In 1914 he won the British Prix de Rome.[3]

Both his elder sister, Edith, and his younger brother, David, were painters.

Military service[edit]

When war broke out in 1914, Jagger gave up his Rome scholarship to join the army. At first, Jagger joined the Artists' Rifles, and in 1915 he was commissioned in the Worcestershire Regiment. Jagger served in Gallipoli and on the Western Front, and was wounded three times. He was awarded the Military Cross for gallantry.

Work as a sculptor[edit]

Jagger's style tended towards realism, especially his portrayal of soldiers. The fashion at the time was for idealism and modernism in sculpture, but Jagger's figures were rugged and workman-like, earning him a reputation for 'realist' sculpture.[4] Although Jagger was commissioned as a sculptor of a variety of monuments, it is for his war memorials that he is chiefly remembered.

Whilst convalescing from war wounds in 1919, he began work on No Man's Land, a low relief which is today is part of the Tate Collection.[5] It depicts a "listening post", a technique of trench warfare in which a soldier would hide among the corpses, broken stretchers and barbed wire of No Man's Land, in order to listen for the enemy.

The Royal Artillery Memorial

His Royal Artillery Memorial (1921–25) at Hyde Park Corner in London is one of his best-known works. It features a giant sculpture of a howitzer surrounded by four bronze soldiers and stone relief scenes, and is dedicated to casualties in the British Royal Regiment of Artillery in World War I.[1] When Jagger was commissioned to work on the Royal Artillery Memorial, he remarked to the Daily Express the "experience in the trenches persuaded me of the necessity for frankness and truth".[4]

Monumental works of the period used symbolic figures rather than actual depictions of soldiers. Furthermore, during the war years, a government edict had banned images of dead British soldiers. Jagger defied both these conventions by creating realistic bronze figures of three standing soldiers and the body of a dead soldier laid out and shrouded by a greatcoat.[4] The Gunner became the inspiration for a hero in the children's fantasy novel Stoneheart by Charlie Fletcher.

Jagger was made an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1926.

After the demand for war memorials had subsided, Jagger continued to receive important commissions and his works were increasingly influenced by Art Deco. Some of his works include allegorical stone figures at Imperial Chemical House, London (1928) and The Kelham Rood (1929).

In 1931 Jagger was commissioned by architect Edwin Lutyens to design a sculpture of Christ the King for the designs for Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral. The sculpture was never executed because Lutyens' design was extremely costly and funding for the building work ran out. A model of Lutyens' unrealised building is displayed in the Walker Art Gallery.[6][7] Jagger was also commissioned to provide sculptures of elephants and imperial lions for Lutyens' government buildings in New Delhi, India.

Jagger produced many smaller works, such as busts, statuettes, reliefs, and exhibited them at the Royal Academy in 1913–34, his work continued to be exhibited posthumously, including at the Glasgow Empire Exhibition in 1938.[1]

Charles Sargeant Jagger blue plaque in his home village of Kilnhurst, South Yorkshire (2018)

Charles Sargeant Jagger died suddenly from pneumonia on 16 November 1934. He was in the process of finishing a statue of George V for New Delhi at his death, and work on it was completed by William Reid Dick.[4] A documentary about Jagger's work and featuring this statue of George V was in the process of being filmed by Pathe. This was edited into a short two-minute filmic obituary which was released under the title An Unfinished Symphony in Stone.[4][8]

A touring memorial exhibition was organised by two of his chief patrons in 1935–36 (Freda, Lady Forres and Henry Mond, 2nd Baron Melchett). Two years later a second touring exhibition was arranged called Art of the Jagger Family, which featured sculptures by Charles Sargeant Jagger together with portraits by his brother, David (also highly successful), and landscapes and flower subjects by his sister, Edith.[4] Thereafter his reputation declined until 1985–86 when a large retrospective exhibition entitled War and Peace Sculpture was held at the Imperial War Museum, with the Mappin Art Gallery, Sheffield.[1]

A blue plaque was unveiled in his home village, Kilnhurst by the Rotherham District Civic Society in October 2018. A similar plaque was unveiled in 2000 at his London home, 67 Albert Bridge Road, Battersea.

Selected works[edit]

Jagger's major commissions include the following:[1]

London, United Kingdom
Work Date Image Description Location Notes
No Man's Land 1919–20 No Man's Land Bronze relief of a soldier hiding among the dead bodies, broken stretchers and barbed wire of No Man's Land at 'listening post'. Victoria & Albert Museum Original plaster had a verse: "O, little mighty band that stood for England That with our bodies for a living shield Guarded her slow awakening" (removed in the bronze). On loan from the Tate Collection [1]
Great Western Railway War Memorial 1922 GWR memorial Bronze statue of a soldier reading a letter from home Platform 1, Paddington Station To commemorate the founding of the Army Post Office Corps in 1882, its successor the Royal Engineers (Postal & Courier Services), commissioned Jill Tweed and Mike Smith to sculpt a life-size statue of Jagger's Great Western Railway War Memorial.[9] The statue entitled Letter from Home was unveiled at Inglis Barracks, Mill Hill, London on 16 July 1982 by Queen Elizabeth II.[10] In 2007 the statue was moved to RAF Northolt.
Royal Artillery Memorial 1925
Royal Artillery Memorial
Fallen soldier
Four bronze figures on Portland stone plinth Hyde Park Corner
Ernest Henry Shackleton 1927–32 Shackleton Statue Bronze figure mounted in wall alcove Royal Geographical Society The Ernest H. Shackleton Monument (The Victorian Web)
The Builder, Marine Transport, Agriculture and Chemistry 1928
Marine Transport
The Builder
Portland stone figure groups on 5th floor balustrade Imperial Chemical House, Millbank
St. George and Britannia 1928
St George
Portland stone figures on entrance gate Thames House, Millbank
The Kelham Rood 1929 The Kelham Rood Bronze Crucifixion triptych group of Christ, Mary and Mary Magdalen St John the Divine, Kennington Originally sculpted for the chapel at Kelham Hall, Nottinghamshire
The Scandal Relief 1930 V&A article
The fire basket
Bronze Art Deco relief of embracing figures with accompanying fire basket Victoria & Albert Museum Private commission from Henry Mond, 2nd Baron Melchett for the interior of Mulberry House, Smith Square, Westminster purchased by the museum for £106,000[11]
United Kingdom outside London
Work Date Image Description Location Notes
Torfrida c.1911 Torfrida Praying female figure Clifton Park Museum, Rotherham Torfrida (The Victorian Web)
Guildhall Square Cenotaph 1921
Vickers machine gun
Lewis machine gun
Two stone statues of machine gunners (Vickers and Lewis guns) Guildhall Square, Portsmouth [2]
Sculpture of a Sentry 1921 the Sentry Bronze soldier wearing greatcoat and helmet, holding a bayonet Watts Warehouse (now the Britannia Hotel), Manchester A maquette of the Manchester Sentry can also be seen at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool
Bedford War Memorial 1921 Statue on Bedford War Memorial Stone figure of the Anglo Saxon Lady Athelflaed, ruler of Mercia, vanquishing a dragon Bedford The monument stands on the Embankment opposite Rothsay Gardens[12]
Hoylake and West Kirby War Memorial 1922
Hooded woman
Infantry soldier
Two 3m bronze figures against an 11.5m granite obelisk - hooded woman and infantry soldier holding a bayonet rifle Grange Hill, Hoylake, Merseyside The soldier's bayonet has been removed due to previous vandalism, but is reinstated annually for the Armistice Day Memorial Service.[13]
Brimington War Memorial 1921 Brimington War Memorial Marble Britannia figure, winged helmet, sword and shield; shield decorated with lion, scales and wreath Church of St Michael and All Angels, Brimington, Derbyshire The figure originally stood on a plinth which was later stolen [14]
Monument to Charles Pelham, Lord Worsley 1914 Charles Pelham memorial Marble relief of Lord Worsley kneeling at prayer All Saints Church, Brocklesby, Lincolnshire Monument is in the 17th century style to complement the adjacent Pelham family tomb of 1629[15][16]
Christ the King 1931 Maquette for Lutyens' model of his proposal for Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral Liverpool Commissioned by Sir Edwin Lutyens and intended for the top of the west front; not executed, but several posthumous metal casts exist.[17] Lutyens' model is at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool
Work Date Image Description Location Notes
Anglo-Belgian Memorial 1923 Anglo-Belgian Memorial Sculptures of a British and Belgian soldier side by side with reliefs either side Brussels, Belgium Casts of the reliefs are held at the Imperial War Museum, London
Nieuport Memorial 1928
Stone lion from front
Stone lion side-on, facing right
Stone lion side-on, facing left
Three stone lions standing guard around a cenotaph Nieuwpoort, Belgium Memorial commemorates 566 soldiers from the Antwerp Expedition of October 1914 and subsequent battles in the area in July 1917.[18]
Cambrai Memorial 1928
Trench periscope
Stretcher bearers
Two stone reliefs depicting soldiers fighting and carrying the wounded in the trenches Louverval Military Cemetery, Cambrai, France Memorial commemorates over 7000 servicemen of the United Kingdom and South Africa who died in the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917[19]
Port Tewfik Memorial 1926 Port Tewfik Memorial in 1932 Two crouching tiger sculptures guarded the memorial Originally at Port Tewfik (or Port Taufiq), Suez Canal, Egypt Jagger's work was destroyed in the Israeli-Egyptian fighting (date uncertain); the memorial was relocated to the Heliopolis War Cemetery.[20]
Shrine of Remembrance 1927–34
Detail of Drivers memorial
Driver and Wipers memorial, side-on
Wipers memorial
Two bronze soldiers - Driver holding a horse bridle, and British infantry soldier standing guard with rifle and bayonet. Melbourne, Australia The "Wipers" figure is a re-casting of the soldier from the Hoylake and West Kirby memorial, and the "Driver" is a re-casting from the Royal Artillery Memorial in London.[21]
Viceroy's House and the Jaipur Column 1929
Elephant statues on walls of Rashtrapati Bhavan
Jaipur Column bas-relief
Mughal-style Elephants in the outer walls; bas-reliefs on the Jaipur Column New Delhi, India Commissioned by Sir Edwin Lutyens[22]
Lord Reading statue 1920s Lord Reading statue Statue of Lord Reading, Viceroy of India (1921-1926). Reading, England One of the statues commissioned from Jagger by Lutyens for New Delhi, later moved to Eldon Square gardens in Reading in 1971.[23]
Lord Hardinge statue 1928 Lord Hardinge statue Statue of Lord Hardinge of Penshurst, Viceroy of India (1910-1916). New Delhi, India One of the statues commissioned from Jagger by Lutyens for New Delhi, later moved to Coronation Park.[23][24]
George V statue 1936 George V statue Large statue of King George V wearing his robes for the Delhi Durbar of 1911 New Delhi, India Unfinished at the time of Jagger's death in 1934, this statue was completed by William Reid Dick and was originally erected in 1936 under a Lutyens-designed canopy at the India Gate arch. It was moved in 1968 to Coronation Park.[25][26]


  1. ^ a b c d e f ed. Alan Windsor (1988), British Sculptors of the Twentieth Century, Ashgate Publishing {{citation}}: |author= has generic name (help) ISBN 1-85928-456-6
  2. ^ "Jagger, Charles Sargeant". Grove Art online. 2007. Retrieved 9 July 2007.
  3. ^ "Jagger, (Charles) Sargeant". Grove Art online. 2007. Retrieved 9 July 2007.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Ann Compton (1985), The Sculpture of Charles Sargeant Jagger, Ashgate Publishing, ISBN 0-85331-864-6
  5. ^ "No Man's Land 1919-20". Tate. 1 August 2004. Retrieved 9 July 2007.
  6. ^ The Very Greatest Building that was never Built Archived 11 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine (sourced from
  7. ^ Transcript of audio download of 'Lutyen's Cathedral' talk Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine by Paul O'Keeffe
  8. ^ An Unfinished Symphony in Stone (FLV) (Motion picture). London, United Kingdom: British Pathé. 28 January 1935. Pathé PT 253, FILM ID: 1110.20, MEDIA URN: 38633. Retrieved 24 March 2020. (00:02:26)
  9. ^ "Letter from Home". PCS Branch Royal Engineers Association. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 29 August 2015.
  10. ^ "Court Circular." Times [London, England] 17 July 1982: 10. The Times Digital Archive. accessed 28 August 2015
  11. ^ ""On display, the sculpture that revealed an aristocrat's guilty secret" by Arifa Akba, The Independent, 18 April 2009". 17 April 2009. Archived from the original on 22 April 2009. Retrieved 19 April 2009.
  12. ^ Daniel Stannard/Bedfordshire County Council (2007). "The First World War Memorial, Bedford" (PDF). Bedfordshire Buildings and Monuments. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 November 2007. Retrieved 4 November 2007.
  13. ^ Public Monument and Sculpture Association. "War Memorial (Hoylake and West Kirby War Memorial)". National Recording Project. Archived from the original on 21 May 2010. Retrieved 3 November 2007.
  14. ^ Douglas Spencer (2002). "A history and guide of St. Michael & All Angels". Archived from the original on 23 January 2008. Retrieved 3 November 2007.
  15. ^ The Church Monuments Society. "Lincolnshire - Brocklesby - All Saints". Archived from the original on 13 August 2007. Retrieved 3 November 2007.
  16. ^ Peter Fairweather. "All Saints Church, Brocklesby and the Church of St. Peter, Great Limber". Archived from the original on 15 June 2007. Retrieved 3 November 2007.
  17. ^ Julian Treuherz. "The very greatest building that was never built". Apollo Magazine. Archived from the original on 11 May 2008. Retrieved 3 November 2007.
  18. ^ "The Belgian Front Line: Nieuwpoort 1914". Archived from the original on 19 October 2007. Retrieved 2 November 2007.
  19. ^ "Louverval Military Cemetery". Archived from the original on 7 November 2007. Retrieved 2 November 2007.
  20. ^ Commonwealth War Graves Commission. "Heliopolis (Port Tewfik) Memorial". Archived from the original on 31 January 2018. Retrieved 31 October 2007.
  21. ^ "The Driver and Wipers Memorial" (PDF). Shrine of Remembrance Education Program. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 August 2007. Retrieved 9 July 2007.
  22. ^ Christopher Hussey (1953), The Life of Sir Edwin Lutyens, Antique Collectors' Club ISBN 0-907462-59-6
  23. ^ a b Johnson, David A. (2016). "The Great War's impact on imperial Delhi: commemorating wartime sacrifice in the colonial built environment". In Walsh, Michael J.K.; Varnava, Andrekos (eds.). The Great War and the British Empire: Culture and society. Taylor & Francis. p. 255. ISBN 9781317029830.
  24. ^ ""Charles, Baron Hardinge of Penshurst" by Charles Sargeant Jagger". Victorian Web. Archived from the original on 15 September 2020. Retrieved 11 February 2021.
  25. ^ ""George V" by Charles Sargent Jagger". Victorian Web. Archived from the original on 18 December 2020. Retrieved 11 February 2021.
  26. ^ McGarr, Paul (2015). "The Viceroys are Disappearing from the Roundabouts in Delhi: British symbols of power in post-colonial India". Modern Asian Studies. 49 (3): 787–831. doi:10.1017/s0026749x14000080.

Further reading[edit]

  • Compton, Ann, ed. (1985), Charles Sargeant Jagger: War and Peace Sculpture, Imperial War Museum, ISBN 0-901627-31-3 (exhibition catalogue)
  • Compton, Ann (2004), The Sculpture of Charles Sargeant Jagger, Ashgate Publishing, ISBN 0-85331-864-6
  • Penny, Nicholas (November 1981). "English Sculpture and the First World War". Oxford Art Journal. 4 (2): 36–42. doi:10.1093/oxartj/4.2.36.

External links[edit]