Henry Hugh Armstead

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Henry Hugh Armstead

Henry Hugh Armstead, 1879.png
Armstead in 1879
Born(1828-06-18)18 June 1828
Bloomsbury, central London
Died4 December 1905(1905-12-04) (aged 77)
St John's Wood in north London
Resting placeHighgate Cemetery
Known forsculptor and illustrator
ElectedRoyal Academy

Henry Hugh Armstead RA (London 18 June 1828 – 4 December 1905 London) was an English sculptor and illustrator, influenced by the Pre-Raphaelites.[1]


Armstead was born in Bloomsbury, central London, the son of John Armstead, a chaser and heraldic engraver. He trained first under his father, then at the Government School of Design at Somerset House and afterwards at private art schools. He also studied with Edward Hodges Baily.[2]

At the age of eighteen he went to work for the silversmiths Hunt and Roskell,[3] where the works he later made included the "Kean Testimonial", a set of nine pieces of silver presented to the actor Charles Kean,[4] and the "Outram Shield" (1862), made for presentation to Lieutenant-General Sir James Outram.[5] He both made the clay models for the objects, and chased the cast silver.[3][4]

In the late 1850s Armstead was commissioned to make a statue of Aristotle[2] in Caen stone[6] for the Museum of Natural History in Oxford. After this he increasingly concentrated on sculpture rather than metalwork.[2] He designed a set of friezes for the exterior of Eatington Hall, as part of its remodelling in 1858–62; they were carved by Edward Clarke,[7] Commissions for work at the Palace of Westminster, and the Albert Memorial helped Armstead to establish his reputation. He subsequently executed a large number of public statues, funerary works and other architectural schemes.[2]

The Stockbridge Cup, designed by Armstead as the prize for a horse race at Nottingham

At the Palace of Westminster he carved eighteen oak panels in the Queens's Robing Room illustrating the legend of King Arthur beneath a series of murals by William Dyce.[3][8]

Armstead worked closely with George Gilbert Scott on the Albert memorial from an early stage in the design process, making small scale models of the projected sculptural groups for Scott's architectural model.[9] When it came to the sculpture on the actual monument, he was chosen to make half of the Frieze of Parnassus, a representation of 169 major cultural figures carved out of hard Canpanella marble. Armstead carved the poets and musicians and artists on the south side of the monument, and the painters on the east. The other two sides were executed by John Birnie Philip. Armstead took great care over the details of the subjects, asking surviving friends of Goethe, Beethoven and Mendelsohn for advice, and working from Weber's death-mask.[10] The sculpture was carved in situ, out of blocks already installed in the podium of the monument, rather than in the studio.[11] The relief was completed, and the sculptors' temporary sheds removed, in 1872.[12] Armstead also made some of the bronze statues symbolising the sciences on the upper levels of the memorial; the others were by Philip.[13]

With John Birnie Philip, he worked on the external sculptural decorations of Scott's colonial office in Whitehall.[1] Armstead also sculpted the large fountain at King's College, Cambridge (1874–79), incorporating a statue of its founder, Henry IV,[14] and numerous effigies, such as Bishop Wilberforce at Winchester, and Lord John Thynne at Westminster Abbey.[15]

He was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1875 and a full member in 1880.[15]

Armstead was living at 44 St Paul's Road, Camden in 1865. He Lived at 57 Camden Square from 1871 to 1883. He died at his home 52 Circus Road, St John's Wood in north London on 4 December 1905.[2]


  1. ^ a b Chisholm 1911.
  2. ^ a b c d e "'Henry Hugh Armstead RA". Mapping the Practice and Profession of Sculpture in Britain and Ireland 1851–1951. University of Glasgow History of Art and HATII, online database 2011. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
  3. ^ a b c The National Gallery British Art Catalogue With Descriptions^ Historical Notes and Lives of Deceased Artists. London: His Majesty's Stationery Office. pp. 4–5.
  4. ^ a b "The Kean Testimonial". The Times. 24 March 1862. Retrieved 7 June 2012. {subscription needed}
  5. ^ "Shield". Victoria and Albert Museum. Retrieved 5 June 2012.
  6. ^ "The statues in the court". Oxford University Museum of Natural History. Retrieved 5 June 2012.
  7. ^ Shirley, Evelyn Philip (1869). Lower Eatington : Its Manor House and Church. Privately. print. at the Chiswick press. pp. 22–3.
  8. ^ "The Legend of King Arthur". UK Parliament. Retrieved 5 June 2012.
  9. ^ Bayley 1983, p. 52.
  10. ^ Bayley 1983, pp. 67–9.
  11. ^ Bayley 1983, pp. 67, 73.
  12. ^ Bayley 1983, p. 142.
  13. ^ Bayley 1983, pp. 123–7.
  14. ^ "The Fountain: King's own water feature". Kings College Cambridge. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
  15. ^ a b  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Armstead, Henry Hugh" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 2 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 590.


  • Bayley, Stephen (1983) [1981]. The Albert Memorial (paperback ed.). London: Scolar Press.

Further reading[edit]

  • Suriano, Gregory R. British Pre-Raphaelite Illustrators (British Library Pub., 2005) p. 57 ff.

External links[edit]