Mary Thornycroft

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Mary Thornycroft (née Francis) (1809 – 1 February 1895) was a British sculptor and a member of the Thornycroft family.[1]

Biography[edit]

The daughter of sculptor John Francis, Thornycroft was born at Thornham in Norfolk. She studied sculpture under her father, and exhibited her works at the Royal Academy of Arts at age 21.[2]

In 1840, she married Thomas Thornycroft, a student of her father. The couple travelled to Italy and lived and worked for a time in Rome. While in Rome, Mary Thornycroft became friends with the sculptors Bertel Thorvaldsen and John Gibson. On her return to London, Gibson recommended her services to Queen Victoria.

Thornycroft created numerous busts and statues foe Queen, chiefly of the royal children. The drawing-room at Osborne House contained nine life-size marble statues of the young princes and princesses that were modelled by Thornycroft. She also executed a number of busts of private individuals, as well as a few ideal statues. Among the latter is her well-known figure of a ‘Skipping Girl’.[3]

Thornycroft also gave lessons in sculpting to Princess Louise, one of Victoria's daughters, who became a sculptor also.[4]

Thornycroft died on 1 February 1895.[2]

Family[edit]

The Thornycrofts had six children who grew to adulthood, two sons (Hamo and John Isaac), and four daughters (Alyce, Theresa, Helen and Frances). Hamo Thornycroft became a sculptor while daughters Alyce, Theresa Thornycroft, and Helen Thornycroft became artists. John Isaac Thornycroft became a marine engineer.[4]

The Thornycrofts were the grandparents of Siegfried Sassoon, the war poet, through their daughter Theresa, who married Alfred Ezra Sassoon.[5]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Proctor, Nancy. "Thornycroft, Mary". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/27368.  (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. ^ a b  Lee, Sidney, ed. (1898). "Thornycroft, Mary". Dictionary of National Biography. 56. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 
  3. ^ 'The Skipping Girl', Mapping the Practice and Profession of Sculpture in Britain and Ireland 1851-1951, University of Glasgow History of Art and HATII, online database 2011, accessed 2 Aug 2011
  4. ^ a b Proctor, Nancy. "Thornycroft, Mary". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/27368.  (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  5. ^ Hart-Davis, Rupert. "Sassoon, Siegfried Loraine". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/35953.  (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)

External links[edit]

Attribution

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainLee, Sidney, ed. (1898). "Thornycroft, Mary". Dictionary of National Biography. 56. London: Smith, Elder & Co.