George Gammon Adams

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George Gammon Adams (1821–1898; sometimes spelled George Gamon Adams or George Cannon Adams[1]) was an English portrait sculptor and medallist,[2] noted for his statue of General Charles Napier in Trafalgar Square.


Adams' statue of General Charles Napier in Trafalgar Square

Adams was born on 21 April 1821, in Staines, Middlesex, the son of an upholsterer.[3] He entered the Royal Academy Schools in 1840 on the recommendation of the medallist William Wyon. He won a silver medal at the Academy in the same year.[4] He was also taught to model and cut medals and coin dies by Benedetto Pistrucci.[3]

After a year in Rome studying under John Gibson in 1846, he returned to London and worked for Wyon at the Royal Mint on Tower Hill.

He exhibited several works at the Great Exhibition of 1851, and was one of the three artists whose designs were used on the medals awarded to exhibitors.[5] In the following year he was given the honour of making the death mask of the Duke of Wellington. Over the next two decades he produced busts of notable people and other public monuments.[2]

Adams exhibited at the RA 1841–85. He died at his home, Acton Green Lodge, Chiswick, on 14 March 1898.[3]


Adams' style has been judged as severe and unsentimental. His 1856 statue of Napier in Trafalgar Square was the subject of unusually wide critical condemnation. The Art Journal wrote, "the slightest attention to natural form and movement is all that is necessary for the condemnation of the statue of Gen Napier, in Trafalgar Sq, as perhaps the worst piece of sculpture in England. The moral and relative worthlessness of the work exceeds tenfold its formal imperfection."[4]


Hugh M'Neile's statue
in St Georges Hall, Liverpool
Other sculpture


  1. ^ Morris Singer commissions 1844 to 1900 Archived 2011-08-09 at the Wayback Machine, Zahra Modern Art Foundries
  2. ^ a b George Gammon Adams, brief biography and list of works at the National Portrait Gallery (London)
  3. ^ a b c "George Gammon Adams', Mapping the Practice and Profession of Sculpture in Britain and Ireland 1851–1951". online database. University of Glasgow History of Art and HATII. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
  4. ^ a b c George Gammon Adams Archived 2011-10-06 at the Wayback Machine, London Atelier of Representational Art
  5. ^ Hobhouse, Hermione (2004). The Crystal Palace and the Great Exhibition. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 46. ISBN 0-8264-7841-7. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
  6. ^ Image, see File:Johncolborne.jpg