Thomas J Clapperton

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Thomas J Clapperton
Born14 October 1879 Edit this on Wikidata
Died15 February 1962 Edit this on Wikidata (aged 82)
Robert the Bruce, Edinburgh Castle
by Thomas Clapperton

Thomas J Clapperton FRBS (14 October 1879 – 1962) was a Scottish sculptor, famous for the statue of Robert the Bruce at the entrance of Edinburgh Castle erected in 1929.[1]


He was born on 14 October 1879[2] in Galashiels, Selkirkshire in the Scottish Borders the son of a photographer.[1]

He studied at the Galashiels Mechanics Institute, then Glasgow School of Art from 1899 to 1901, then the Kennington School of Art in London and then the Royal Academy Schools in 1904-5. In the latter he was student assistant to Sir William Goscombe John. After further studies in Paris and Rome, he set up studios at Chelsea and St John's Wood, London, as a sculptor.[3]

Although commissioned to design a monument to Mungo Park in Selkirk this was ultimately executed by the more experienced Andrew Currie. In the First World War he served in India.[1]

Unlike the large group war memorials of Sir William Goscombe John, under whom Clapperton had studied at the Royal Academy, Clapperton's works are often of individual or equestrian figures.[3]

In collaboration with C L J Doman, he produced in 1926 the large frieze representing Britannia with the Wealth of East and West on the front of Liberty's department store, Regent Street, London. His work overseas includes a war memorial in New Zealand, a sculpture in Canada and a fountain in California.[1]

In 1926 a bronze sculpture was commissioned by the mayor of Oamaru, Robert Milligan, to adorn the famous Oamaru Botanical Gardens. It was unveiled on 7 March 1927.[4] Milligan was inspired by Sir George Frampton's 1913 Peter Pan sculpture in London's Kensington Gardens [5] and wanted a similar sculpture for Oamaru. Milligan was referred to Thomas Clapperton since he had been a pupil of Frampton's. [6]The sculpture is entitled 'Wonderland Statue' and was gifted by the mayor to Oamaru. The work appears more ornate and intricate than the Peter Pan sculpture. It is reported that Harold Richmond so loved Clapperton's Wonderland Statue in the Oamaru Gardens as a child, that later as an adult he gifted two statues (sculpted by Cecil Thomas) to the Dunedin Botanical Gardens. [7] One statue is of Peter Pan, and the other is of Wendy and her brothers.

Thomas Clapperton died in Upper Beeding in Sussex in 1962.

Honours and awards[edit]

Clapperton was elected a Fellow of the Royal British Society of Sculptors in 1938.[1]




  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Thomas J Clapperton (1879-1962), sculptor, a biography". Retrieved 2018-02-05.
  2. ^ "The Scottish Military Research Group - Commemorations Project :: View topic - Thomas J Clapperton". Retrieved 2018-02-05.
  3. ^ a b Historic Scotland web site
  4. ^ a b ""Wonderland" A gift to the children of Oamaru". 1927-03-08. Retrieved 2019-08-10.
  5. ^ "Wonderland Statue (Oamaru, N.Z.)". National Library of New Zealand. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
  6. ^ Kete New Plymouth - Taranaki's online digital archive of current and historical local events, people, places and experiences. (PDF). Historic Places - November 1999 Retrieved 24 January 2020. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ "Statues and Structures". Dunedin Botanical Gardens. Dunedin Botanical Gardens. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
  8. ^ "Geograph:: The Fletcher Statue in Selkirk (C) Walter Baxter". Retrieved 2019-08-14.
  9. ^ "MINTO WAR MEMORIAL (LB51163)". Retrieved 2019-08-14.
  10. ^ "Minto". Retrieved 2019-08-14.
  11. ^ "World War One Memorial | Heritage New Zealand". Retrieved 2019-08-10.
  12. ^ "Wonderland Statue | Heritage New Zealand". Retrieved 2019-08-10.
  13. ^ "Galashiels". Retrieved 2019-08-14.