George Frampton

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Sir

George James Frampton
George James Frampton (1860-1928) by WH Latham.jpg
Portrait of Frampton by W. H. Latham
Born18 June 1860
London, England
Died21 May 1928(1928-05-21) (aged 67)
NationalityBritish
Alma mater
  • South London Technical School of Art
  • Royal Academy Schools
Known forSculpture
MovementNew Sculpture
Spouse(s)Christabel Cockerell (m.1893)

Sir George James Frampton, RA (18 June 1860 – 21 May 1928) was a notable British sculptor. He was a leading member of the New Sculpture movement in his early career when he created sculptures with elements of Art Nouveau and Symbolism, often combining different materials such as marble and bronze in a single piece.[1] While his later works were more traditional in style, Frampton had a prolific career in which he created many notable public monuments, including several statues of Queen Victoria and later, after World War I, a number of war memorials.[1] These included the Edith Cavell Memorial in London, which, along with the Peter Pan statue in Kensington Gardens are possibly Frampton's best known works.[1]

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Frampton was born on 18 June 1860 in London, where his father was a woodcarver and stonemason.[2] George Frampton began his own working life as a stone carver in 1878, working on the Hôtel de Ville in Paris.[2] Frampton returned to London to study under William Silver Frith at the South London Technical School of Art during 1880 and 1881.[3] He went on to the Royal Academy Schools where, between 1881 and 1887 he won a gold medal and travelling scholarship.[3] While still studying at the Royal Academy, Frampton undertook a number of sculpture commissions including, in 1885, pieces for the facade of both the Constitutional Club in Northumberland Avenue and for the Chelsea Conservative Club.[2] He also created an altarpiece for Manchester Cathedral, some decorative pieces for the Henry Fawcett Memorial in London and a pair of terracotta figures representing Concord and Industry which were exhibited in Paris and purchased for the Municipal Building in Christchurch, New Zealand.[4] From 1887 to 1890 Frampton studied and worked at the studio of Antonin Mercie in Paris, where he also studied painting under Pascal Dagnan-Bouveret and Gustave Courtois.[2][5]

Early works[edit]

Lamia (1899–1900

Frampton returned to England and, briefly, worked in the studio of Sir Joseph Edgar Boehm.[2] He then took up a teaching post at the Slade School of Art in 1893 and was also, for a year, the joint head of the Central School of Arts and Crafts.[4][6]

In 1893 Frampton married the artist Christabel Cockerell and the couple set up home together at St John's Wood in London. Together they designed a decorative frieze for the interior of the house and Frampton began to design household fittings, jewellery in enamel and precious metals and also medals, most notably for Glasgow University and Winchester College.[4] By this time, Frampton was, according to the critic M.H. Spielmann "in open rebellion against white sculpture". In 1893 he showed Mysteriarch, a polychromatic plaster bust with Symbolism motifs at the Royal Academy and, two years later he showed another polychromatic work, Mother and Child at the same venue.[4] Mother and Child has bronze figures, of Frampton's wife and son, set against a copper plaque, and a white enamel disc behind the mother's head.[4][7] In his statue of Dame Alice Owen (1895) Frampton combined bronze and marble, and, later, with the bust Lamia (1899-1900) he contrasted an ivory head and neck with bronze clothing inlaid with opels.[2][8][9]

In 1896 Frampton exhibited, with the architect Charles Harrison Townsend, a large fireplace in American walnut at the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society.[4] The fireplace was decorated with an innovative tree and foliage design by Frampton that was subsequently much imitated by Art Nouveau and Arts and Crafts designers and became known as the 'Frampton tree'.[4] Frampton used a similar design in his 1897 memorial to Charles Mitchell for St George's Church in Jesmond in Newcastle upon Tyne.[4]

Recognition[edit]

St Mungo as the Patron of Art and Music, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

Frampton's body of work in the 1880s brought him considerable recognition. The University of St Andrews awarded him an honorary doctorate in 1894.[2] In 1897 examples of Frampton's work featured at the Venice Biennale and at the Vienna Secession the following year.[2] He exhibited at the La Libre Esthétique in Brussels and showed four pieces at the Paris International Exhibition in 1900 for which he was awarded the Grand Prix.[4]

Recognition also brought Frampton two significant public commissions at this time. The architect John William Simpson appointed Frampton as master sculptor for the decoration of the facade of the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow.[4] As well as overseeing the work of several other sculptors, Frampton created a bronze sculpture group and three sets of stone spandrels for the north porch of the new building.[10] The sculpture group, of St Mungo attended by the muses of Art and Music, in the central arch of the porch contains Symbolism style motiffs featuring trees, bells and fishes similar to those Frampron had used in some of his earlier smaller pieces.[4] Frampton's other commission was for a frieze on the facade of the Lloyd's Register building in Fenchurch Street in London. There, Frampton created, at first floor level, a frieze in Portland stone of female figures representing Trade, Commerce and Shipping with four bronze statuettes at key points.[4][11] Both commissions, but especially the Fenchurch Street frieze, were widely praised at the time.[4]

Later career[edit]

In April 1897 a public meeting in Kolkata agreed to raise funds to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria and, eventually, commissioned Frampton to create a statue of the monarch.[12] Photographs of Frampton's model for the statue were published in the July 1898 edition of The Studio. The accompanying text described a figure over twice life-size, seated under a canopy, wearing the robe of the Order of the Star of India, decorated in gold, ivory and lapis lazuli. The completed statue, which was considerably less ornate and without a canopy, was shipped to India early in 1901 and erected on a temporary site in March 1902.[4] The statue was subsequently moved to a location in front of the Victoria Memorial, where it was sited on a large architectural podium.[4] The death of Queen Victoria in January 1901 led to Frampton receiving several commissions for memorials to the Queen. Frampton based several of these on his design of a seated figure he used for the Kolkata statue but with some variations. He used the same cast for the Leeds and St Helens's statues but changed the style of the decorative details and pedestals between them.[13][14] A further version was created for the grounds of the Manitoba Legislative Building in Winnipeg in 1904.[15] A different design of a much younger, standing Victoria was created for the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1906 and was unveiled by her son King Edward VII in the same year.[16]

Sir George James Frampton in 1915

Among Frampton's other notable public sculptures are the figures of Peter Pan playing a set of pipes, the lions at the British Museum and the Edith Cavell Memorial that stands outside the National Portrait Gallery, London.[5] The original Peter Pan statue in Kensington Gardens, London, was commissioned by J.M. Barrie in 1912. Barrie was said to be disappointed at Frampton's depiction of Peter Pan, in particular at his choice of model for the figure of the boy.[17] However such was the popularity of the statue, six more casts were made which are now situated in:

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.[4] Webb allocated what he considered the two most important areas to Frampton and Alfred Drury.[4] The area over the main entrance arch was allocated to Frampton who created spandrel figures of Truth and Beauty for the space while the remainder of the main entrance was assigned to Drury.[18]

A number of Frampton's works can be seen at the restored St James' Church, Warter in East Yorkshire. Frampton created Dr Barnardo's Memorial, in Barkingside, London, in 1908, a work he undertook without claiming a fee.[19]

During World War I Frampton used his position in various art societies and institutions to expel any German members he considered potential "enemy aliens". When the Art Workers Guild refused to expel Karl Krall, a British citizen born in Germany, Frampton resigned from the Guild.[17] In 1915 Frampton was commissioned to create a public memorial to Edith Cavell. Having waived his fee for the work, Frampton's modernist style monument in marble and granite was unveiled to huge crowds near Trafalgar Square in central London during 1920.[20] Several contemporary sculptors criticised the design and the engineering of the monument.[20]

Frampton subsequently worked with Sir Edwin Lutyens on two of the architect's war memorials in the aftermath of the First World War, the Hove War Memorial in East Sussex and the Fordham War Memorial in Cambridgeshire, unveiled in February and August 1921 respectively. Both feature a bronze statue of Saint George, sculpted by Frampton atop a column designed by Lutyens.[21]

Personal life[edit]

Frampton's first house and studio was at 32 Queen's Grove (where a blue plaque to his name has been erected), but he later built a larger house nearby in Carlton Hill,[22] both in St John's Wood, London. He was married to the artist Christabel Cockerell and had one son, the painter and etcher Meredith Frampton.[5] He was an active member of The Art Workers' Guild and became Master in 1902. He sculpted the Art Workers' Guild's Master's Jewel in silver representing 'Art is Unity'

He died on 21 May 1928 aged 67 and was cremated at Golders Green Crematorium on 25 May. His ashes lie in a niche on the ground floor of the east wing of the Ernest George Columbarium. A memorial sculpted by Ernest Gillick in 1930 depicting a bronze child holding a miniature copy of Frampton's statue of Peter Pan is located in the Crypt of St. Paul's Cathedral.[17]

Public monuments[edit]

1896–1904[edit]

Image Title / subject Location and
coordinates
Date Type Material Dimensions Designation Wikidata Notes
Two Temple Place, Astor House - Lady Astor's office door.jpg
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Arthurian door Two Temple Place, London 1896 9 low-relief door panels Silver-gilt [4]
Rathbone statue, St John's Gardens.jpg
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William Rathbone VI St John's Gardens, Liverpool 1899 Statue on pedestal Bronze and stone Grade II Q26333151 [23][24]
Kolkata, Victoria Memorial 05.jpg
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Queen Victoria Grounds of the Victoria Memorial, Kolkata 1901 Statue on pedestal and steps Bronze and stone Q92360272 [4]
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum (36511664914).jpg
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St. Mungo as the Patron of Art and Music Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow 1901 Sculpture group Bronze [4]
Statue of william & mary howitt, Nottingham castle, uk.jpg William Howitt & Mary Howitt Nottingham Castle 1901 Bas relief on plinth Bronze and granite [25]
Queen Victoria statue, St Helens (7).JPG
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Statue of Queen Victoria Victoria Square, St Helens, Merseyside 1902 Seated statue on pedestal Bronze on sandstone and granite 6.4m Grade II* Q15979535 [26]
Walter Besant plaque, Victoria Embankment, London (cropped).jpg
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Walter Besant Savoy Place, Victoria Embankment, London 1902, erected 1904 Plaque Bronze Q27096149 A cast of an identical monument in the crypt of St Paul's Cathedral, unveiled in 1901.[27]
Statue of Queen Victoria, Leeds.jpg
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Memorial to Queen Victoria Woodhouse Moor, Leeds 1903, unveiled 1905 Seated statue, frieze and figures on column Bronze and Portland stone Grade II* Q15979175 [28][29]
Forwood statue, St John's Gardens.jpg
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Arthur Forwood St John's Gardens, Liverpool 1903 Statue on pedestal Bronze and stone Grade II Q26643650 [30]
Queen Victoria statue, Southport (1).JPG
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Queen Victoria Southport, Merseyside 1903 Statue on pedestal Bronze and stone Grade II Q26659949 [31]
Queen Victoria Statue, Winnipeg.jpg
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Statue of Queen Victoria Manitoba Legislative Building, Canada 1904 Seated statue on pedestal Bronze and granite Q16903553

1905–1909[edit]

Image Title / subject Location and
coordinates
Date Type Material Dimensions Designation Wikidata Notes
1386163 Lancashire Fusiliers Memorial-10.jpg
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Lancashire Fusiliers Boer War memorial Oldfield Road, Salford 1905 Statue on pedestal Bronze and stone 6m high Grade II Q26665909 [32][33]
Lancashire Fusiliers, Tower Gardens.jpg
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Lancashire Fusiliers Boer War memorial Whitehead Gardens, Bury, Greater Manchester 1905 Statue on pedestal Bronze and stone 6m high Grade II [34][35]
Truth and Beauty Main entrance, Victoria & Albert Museum, London 1905–1907 Sculpture groups in 2 spandrels Stone [18]
Bronze statue of 3rd Marquess of Salisbury, Old Hatfield.jpg Statue of Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury Old Hatfield, Hertfordshire 1906 Statue on pedestal Bronze and stone Grade II Q26631553 [36]
Statue of Quintin Hogg, London (2014).JPG
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Quintin and Alice Hogg Memorial Portland Place, London 1906 Statue group on pedestal Bronze and limestone Grade II Q18595368 [37][38][39]
Statue of Queen Victoria, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle.jpg
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Queen Victoria Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle upon Tyne 1906 Statue on pedestal Marble Grade II* Q17552314 [40][16][41]
Monument to Major Lester, St John's Gardens, Liverpool - DSC00950.JPG
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Major Thomas Lester St John's Gardens, Liverpool 1907 Statue on pedestal Bronze and stone Grade II Q26504975 [42]
McLaren Memorial in St Cuthberts, Edinburgh.JPG Memorial to William McLaren St. Cuthbert's, Edinburgh 1907 Relief sculpture Stone
Dr Barnardo's Memorial (1).jpg
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Memorial to Dr Barnardo Barkingside, London 1908 Statue on pedestal with plaque Bronze and stone 4.8m high Grade II* Q17553256 [19]
Stone lion outside the British Museum - geograph.org.uk - 1713181.jpg Lions Exterior of King Edward VII Galleries, British Museum, London 1909 Sculpture Stone

1910–1919[edit]

Image Title / subject Location and
coordinates
Date Type Material Dimensions Designation Wikidata Notes
Statue of Peter Pan in London.JPG
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Statue of Peter Pan Kensington Gardens, London 1912 Sculpture group Bronze 4.3m high Grade II* Q17549621 [17][43]
W.T. Stead (31490638053).jpg
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William Thomas Stead Temple Pier, Victoria Embankment, London 1913, unveiled 1920 Plaque Bronze Grade II Q26319157 A replica was unveiled in Central Park, New York, in 1921.[44]
Alfred Lewis Jones Statue.jpg
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Alfred Lewis Jones Pier Head, Liverpool 1913 Statue on pedestal with figures Bronze and stone Grade II Q26320985 [45]
Monument in Whiteley Village.jpg William Whiteley Whiteley Village, Surrey 1914 Statue on pedestal with plaques Copper and stone 6m high Grade II Q26281430 [46]
Memorial to WS Gilbert v4.jpg
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W. S. Gilbert Embankment Pier, London 1914, unveiled 1915 Plaque on block Bronze and granite Grade II Q27081628 [47]
St George by Frampton (5653995697).jpg
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War memorial Pearl Assurance offices, Peterborough 1919 Statue on pedestal Bronze and stone Grade II* Q62132803 Relocated from London in 1991[48][49]
War memorial, Knowlton (geograph 3893671).jpg
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War memorial Knowlton, Kent 1919 Lantern cross with figures Stone Q94131948 [50]

1920 and later[edit]

Image Title / subject Location and
coordinates
Date Type Material Dimensions Designation Wikidata Notes
The War Memorials of the First World War Q45798.jpg
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Memorial to Edith Cavell St Martin's Place, Charing Cross, London 1920 Statue with pillar and cross Carrara marble and granite 12m high Grade I Q18159833 [51][52][20]
Wittersham War Memorial (geograph 4055771).jpg
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War memorial Wittersham, Kent 1921 Orb on octagonal column Portland and Wealden stone 5m tall Grade II Q26676940 [53][54]
Hove War Memorial, Grand Avenue, Hove (NHLE Code 1187556) (April 2018) (2).JPG
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Statue of Saint George Hove War Memorial, Hove, East Sussex 1921 Statue on pillar Stone Grade II Q26482745 Memorial designed by Sir Edward Lutyens[21][55]
Fordham Cambs War Memorial3.jpg
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Statue of Saint George Fordham War Memorial, Fordham, Cambridgeshire 1921 Statue on pillar Stone Grade II Q26616619 Memorial designed by Sir Edward Lutyens, statue stolen 1992.[56][57]
War Memorial, Maidstone West Station - geograph.org.uk - 1506717.jpg
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War memorial Tonbridge Road, Maidstone 1922 Statue on pedestal Bronze and limestone Grade II Q26675478 [58][59]
War Memorial, Cleckheaton (13134480695).jpg
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War memorial King Edward VII Memorial Park, Cleckheaton 1922 Sculpture group on pedestal with surround Portland stone Grade II Q26428794 [60][61]

Other works[edit]

  • Marble statue of Queen Mary, Guildhall Art Gallery, London
  • Sandstone reliefs for 177 Ingram St, Glasgow, 1896–1900
  • Stone spandrel reliefs for Electra House, Moorgate c.1902
  • Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, stone spandrals on the north porch entrance, main face British Colonies saluting the Arms of Glasgow, side returns Love teaching Harmony to the Arts and The Industries of Glasgow at the Court of Mercury
  • Figure of Bishop George Wilkinson in St Ninian's Cathedral, Perth.[62]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ a b c d e f g h University of Glasgow History of Art / HATII (2011). "Sir George James Frampton RA, FSA, LLD". Mapping the Practice and Profession of Sculpture in Britain & Ireland 1851–1951. Retrieved 22 September 2020.
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External links[edit]