William John Seward Webber

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William John Seward Webber
Young man with drooping Victorian moustache
W.J.S Webber, 1880s
BornJanuary 1842
Exeter, Devon, England
Died17 March 1919(1919-03-17) (aged 77)
Resting placeGrove Road Cemetery, Harrogate
NationalityEnglish
Known forCivic sculpture and busts of local worthies, in marble
Notable workWarrior and Wounded Youth (group, 1878); Queen Victoria (monument, 1887)

William John Seward Webber (January 1842 – c. 17 March 1919) was an English sculptor who created civic statuary, and busts of national heroes and local worthies, in marble. He sculpted the statue of Queen Victoria for the Jubilee Monument in Harrogate, North Riding of Yorkshire, England in 1887. An early success was his Warrior and Wounded Youth group of 1878, executed while he was still a student. His busts include portraits of the Duke of Clarence, John Charles Dollman, Henry Phillpotts, John Bowring, John Ruskin, Richard Jefferies, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Charles Darwin, Walter Scott, Thomas Carlyle, Robert Burns and Thomas Holroyd.

He was the son of a carver and emigration depot master. He was born and grew up in South West England, and he trained with John Gendall, and at the Exeter School of Art and West London School of Art, before attending the Royal Academy Schools. He worked from studios in London for a while, then at the age of around 49 years he moved to Harrogate, where he worked for the rest of his life. He is buried in an unmarked grave in Grove Road Cemetery, Harrogate.

Life[edit]

Webber's former Harrogate home, Holliscroft
Webber's unmarked grave is in this area of Grove Road Cemetery

William John Seward (West Teignmouth 1790 – 1857),[1] a superintendent of a home for Irish emigrants in Exeter, Devon, was Webber's maternal grandfather. His maternal grandmother was Ann Seward nee Rendell (Devon 25 November 1790 – 1830). His step-maternal grandmother was the matron of the emigrant home, Mary Seward (b. Tiverton ca.1803).[2] Webber's father was William R. Webber (Teignmouth 1806 – Tavistock 1874),[3] a carver who in 1861 was also an emigration depot master in East Stonehouse, Devon. His mother was Hadassah Seward (Teignmouth 13 March 1822 – Knaresborough 1905),[4] a matron of the emigration depot.[5][nb 1]

William John Seward Webber was born in Exeter in January 1842.[6][7] His brother was Charles Benjamin Warwick Webber (Plymouth ca.1854 – Plymouth 1881).[5][8][9] His sister was dressmaker Edith Alice Maria Webber (Stonehouse 1863 – Barnet 1949).[10][11] In 1851 William J.S. Webber was a scholar living at the Emigrants' Home in St Andrew, Exeter, with his maternal grandparents.[2] By 1861 he was a carver living with his parents at the Emigrants' Depot, Newport Street, Exeter.[5] Between 1870 and 1871 he lodged at 205 Tottenham Court Road, London, as a student, describing himself as a sculptor's assistant and student of sculpture at the Royal Academy.[6][12]

Webber attended school at Plymouth.[13] He was apprenticed as a carver, and after that he trained for two years at the studio of John Gendall (1790–1864),[14] at the same time attending Exeter School of Art.[6] He moved to London in 1864 to study at the West London School of Art, where he qualified to attend the Royal Academy.[14][15] He then studied at the Royal Academy School, gaining First Medals in 1871 and 1873, and a scholarship.[13] He graduated in 1875.[6]

Between 1874 and 1891 Webber's address was 39 Goodge Street, London, and in 1891 he moved to Holliscroft, Dale Street, Harrogate.[16] Between 1901 and 1911 (and possibly until his death) he lived in a modest terraced house: Holliscroft, 3 Mayfield Grove. Harrogate. In 1891 his mother and sister Edith were living with him; by 1911, just his sister. He never married.[6][13][17][18] Webber died around 17 March 1919 in Harrogate.[19] He is buried in Grove Road Cemetery, Harrogate, but has no grave stone.[6][20][nb 2]

Character[edit]

According to the Harrogate Advertiser:[21]

Webber was a shy unpushful man, careless about money which inhibited his professional advancement. He was interested in natural history and attended Natural History Society meetings in the Harrogate area. He was religious (Webber's family were non-conformists but he was tolerant of all faiths), and well read, particularly in philosophy.[6][21][nb 3]

Career[edit]

According to the Census in England, Webber described himself as a "carver" in 1861,[5] a "sculptor's assistant & student of sculpture, Royal Academy" in 1871,[12] a "sculptor" in 1891,[16] and a "sculptor (marble stone etc.) working on own account" in 1901.[17] He gave his occupation as "sculpture, portraiture in marble or bronze, working on own account at home" in 1911.[6][18]

Studios[edit]

In 1870, Webber had a studio at 205 Tottenham Court Road, London.[22] Between 1874 and 1884, he had a studio at 39 Googe Street, London.[23][24][25][26][27][28] By 1877 and until 1882 he was maintaining a second studio at 245 Stanhope Street, Hampstead Road, London.[29][30] From 1888 he shared a studio in Dale Street, Harrogate, with the painter Thomas Holroyd. There he "continued to practise as a sculptor for the remainder of his career".[6][31]

Awards[edit]

  • Two medals and a national medallion, awarded by the Exeter School of Art.[14]
  • Gold medal awarded by South Kensington (1850s).[6]
  • Medals for "modelling in the antique and life" awarded by Royal Academy Schools (1871, 1873).[6][14]
  • Gold medal and £50 scholarship award for The Warrior and the Wounded Youth (1875) awarded by Royal Academy Schools.[6][32]

Works[edit]

Warrior and Wounded Youth, 1875 and 1878[edit]

Warrior and Wounded Youth, 1875 and 1878

This marble statuette was modelled in 1875, and copied by Webber in marble for Thomas Holroyd in 1878.[33] It was reviewed by S.C. Hall in the Art Journal, December 1880:[14]

The work was modelled by Mr. Webber whilst he was a student in the Royal Academy, and he was awarded by the council of that body a [prize] for the general excellence of the design. The warrior represented is one of a prehistoric type, when the weapons in use were chiefly flint-headed arrows or bronze swords and spears, and the clothing merely the skin of some wild animal, giving the sculptor an excellent opportunity of displaying, what is always of importance in sculpture, the form and structure of the rude human figure. The figure of the warrior is vigorous in action, the anatomical form being well defined, and the expression of tenderness and anxiety on account of the youth whom he is bearing is well depicted in his face. The striking contrast with this robust and vigorous figure is the shrinking, writhing form of the wounded youth, stricken down in his first campaign. His left hand covers the wound he has received, and he turns with an expression of pain to his comrade, who is bearing him to a place of safety.[14]

Jubilee Memorial, Harrogate, 1887[edit]

This is a Grade II listed building,[34] designed by Arthur Bown of Harrogate. It was constructed by Richardson of Scarborough, and it contains a statue of Queen Victoria executed by Webber.[13][35][36] The memorial was given to Harrogate by Mayor Richard Ellis, and unveiled on 6 October 1887.[6] According to English Heritage, the canopy was also carved by Webber.[34]

Holyroyd bequest, 1904[edit]

Thomas Holroyd, by Webber, 1875/1876

Five marble sculptures, The Warrior and the Wounded Youth (statuette, 1878),[nb 4] Mr Thomas Holroyd (bust, 1876), Mr James Holroyd (bust), Mr Bertie Holroyd (bust) and John Charles Dollman (bust, 1875), were commissioned by the painter Thomas Holroyd and executed by Webber.[6][13] They were left by Holroyd to Harrogate Corporation in 1904,[20] and were formally accepted by the Corporation on 21 March 1904.[37] Harrogate Library acquired eight marble busts by Webber in 1916,[38][39] but some of the Holroyd bequest pieces have not been retained by the Borough of Harrogate.[40][41] For example, the 1878 Warrior and the Wounded Youth was sold in 1998, in Miami.[42]

Exhibitions[edit]

Collections[edit]

Works in date order[edit]

Undated works[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Hadassah was the birth name of Queen Esther, from the Book of Esther.
  2. ^ Webber is buried in Grove Road Cemetery, Harrogate, in section G, plot 1372. His unmarked grave is near the tall Dickinson memorial. He is buried on the non-Anglican side of the cemetery, with the Roman Catholics, non-conformists etc.
  3. ^ The meetings attended by Webber were probably those of the Yorkshire Naturalists' Union, the main local naturalists' group.
  4. ^ A depiction of The Warrior and Wounded Youth was engraved and published in the Art Journal in December 1880. The size of the 1878 version was 40 x 20 in. (101.6 x 50.8 cm.)
  5. ^ Seward was Webber's maternal family name, so W.R. Seward was likely a relative.
  6. ^ J.N. Fitch is possibly John Nugent Fitch, an artist and contemporary of Webber.
  7. ^ In the Warrior and Wounded Youth statuette, the warrior is Hercules wearing his attribute, the lionskin cloak, on his back. See photograph on 1st Dibs

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 14 July 2021. Deaths Jun 1857 Seward William John Plymouth 5b 183
  2. ^ a b Census Returns of England and Wales, 1851 HO107 piece 1879 folio 850 page 1
  3. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 13 July 2021. Deaths Dec 1874 Webber William Rowe 59 Tavistock 5b 233
  4. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 14 July 2021. Deaths Sep 1905 Webber Hadassah 83 Knaresbro' 9a 67
  5. ^ a b c d Census Returns of England and Wales, 1861 RG09 piece 1446 folio 54 page 21
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v "Mapping the practice and profession of sculpture". sculpture.gla.ac.uk. University of Glasgow History of Art and HATTII. 2021. Retrieved 25 April 2021.
  7. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 13 July 2021. Births Mar 1842 Webber William Tiverton X 281
  8. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 14 July 2021. Births Sep 1853 Webber Charles Benjamin Warwick Plymouth 5b 226
  9. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 14 July 2021. Deaths Sep 1881 Webber Charles Benjamin W. 28 Plymouth 5b 137
  10. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 14 July 2021. Births Sep 1863 Webber Edith Alice Maria E Stonehouse 5b 282
  11. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 14 July 2021. Deaths Mar 1949 Webber Edith A.M. 85 Barnet 5a 810
  12. ^ a b Census Returns of England and Wales, 1871 RG10 piece 348 folio 4 page 2
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Scott, W. Herbert (1902). Pike, W.T. (ed.). Central West Riding of Yorkshire at the opening of the 20th century, contemporary biographies (1 ed.). Brighton, UK: W.T. Pike & Co. p. 253.
  14. ^ a b c d e f Pycroft, George (1881). Art in Devonshire : with the biographies of artists born in that county. London: Hamilton Adams & Co. p. 13. Retrieved 14 July 2021.
  15. ^ "Albert Victor Duke of Clarence". museumcollections.rcm.ac.uk/. Royal College of Music London. Retrieved 14 July 2021.
  16. ^ a b Census Returns of England and Wales, 1891 Class: RG12; Piece: 3520; Folio: 6; Page: 6; GSU roll: 6098630
  17. ^ a b Census Returns of England and Wales, 1901 RG13 piece 4055 folio 53 page 10
  18. ^ a b Census Returns of England and Wales, 1911 RG14PN25914 RG78PN1500 RD489 SD2 ED9 SN278
  19. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 13 July 2021. Deaths Mar 1919 Webber William J S 76 Knaresborough 9a 202
  20. ^ a b c d "Mr Thomas Holroyd". Pateley Bridge & Nidderdale Herald. British Newspaper Archive. 19 March 1904. p. 7 col.4. Retrieved 25 April 2021.
  21. ^ a b "Obituary of W.J.S. Webber". Harrogate Advertiser. 22 March 1919.
  22. ^ Exhibition catalogue. London: Royal Academy. 1870. p. 64. Retrieved 9 June 2021.
  23. ^ Exhibition catalogue. London: Royal Academy. 1874. p. 126. Retrieved 9 June 2021.
  24. ^ Exhibition catalogue. London: Royal Academy. 1875. p. 70. Retrieved 9 June 2021.
  25. ^ Exhibition catalogue. London: Royal Academy. 1876. p. 71. Retrieved 9 June 2021.
  26. ^ Exhibition catalogue. London: Royal Academy. 1878. p. 71. Retrieved 9 June 2021.
  27. ^ Exhibition catalogue. London: Royal Academy. 1879. p. 72. Retrieved 9 June 2021.
  28. ^ Exhibition catalogue. London: Royal Academy. 1884. p. 80. Retrieved 9 June 2021.
  29. ^ Exhibition catalogue. London: Royal Academy. 1877. p. 71. Retrieved 9 June 2021.
  30. ^ Exhibition catalogue. London: Royal Academy. 1882. p. 76. Retrieved 9 June 2021.
  31. ^ Exhibition catalogue. London: Royal Academy. 1891. p. 79. Retrieved 9 June 2021.
  32. ^ Academicians for the Year 1875, 1878 Royal Academy Annual Reports (1878) p. 29
  33. ^ "The Warrior and Wounded Youth". Art Journal. London: Virtue & co. 1839–1912: 364–366. 1 December 1880. ISSN 2043-1325. (The volume is held at the British Library (UK), and contains a picture of the marble piece)
  34. ^ a b Historic England. "Jubilee memorial (1315844)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 12 March 2021.
  35. ^ "Unveiling the statue of Queen Victoria at Harrogate". Leeds Mercury. British Newspaper Archive. 7 October 1887. p. 3 col.4. Retrieved 14 July 2021.
  36. ^ Van der Krogt, Rene; Van der Krogt, Pieter (29 July 2019). "Queen Victoria". statues.vanderkrogt.net. Statues hither and thither. Retrieved 14 July 2021.
  37. ^ "The late Mr Thos Holroyd's bequests". Pateley Bridge & Nidderdale Herald. British Newspaper Archive. 26 March 1904. p. 6 col.1. Retrieved 25 April 2021.
  38. ^ "Harrogate Town Council, the success of the baths and wells". Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer. British Newspaper Archive. 11 April 1916. p. 10 col.5. Retrieved 13 May 2021.
  39. ^ "History of the Mercer Art Gallery". harrogate.gov.uk. Harrogate Borough Council. Retrieved 25 April 2021.
  40. ^ "Robert Funk Fine Art Miami". artnet.com. Artnet. Retrieved 25 April 2021. William John Seward Webber (British, 1842–1919), Warrior and Wounded Youth, 1878, Sculpture, Marble, 40 x 20 in. (101.6 x 50.8 cm.)
  41. ^ "Harrogate topics". Knaresborough Post. British Newspaper Archive. 21 May 1904. p. 7 col.7. Retrieved 25 April 2021.
  42. ^ "William John Seward Webber: Warrior and Wounded Youth". 1stdibs.com. 1st Dibs. 1998. Retrieved 15 June 2021.
  43. ^ "The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition: A Chronicle 1769-2018". chronicle250.com. Royal Academy. 2018. Retrieved 9 June 2021.
  44. ^ a b Exhibition catalogue. London: Royal Academy. 1870. p. 55. Retrieved 9 June 2021.
  45. ^ a b Exhibition catalogue. London: Royal Academy. 1874. p. 99. Retrieved 9 June 2021.
  46. ^ a b Exhibition catalogue. London: Royal Academy. 1875. p. 58. Retrieved 9 June 2021.
  47. ^ Exhibition catalogue. London: Royal Academy. 1878. p. 56. Retrieved 9 June 2021.
  48. ^ a b c Exhibition catalogue. London: Royal Academy. 1876. p. 54. Retrieved 9 June 2021.
  49. ^ Exhibition catalogue. London: Royal Academy. 1878. p. 57. Retrieved 9 June 2021.
  50. ^ a b Exhibition catalogue. London: Royal Academy. 1876. p. 57. Retrieved 9 June 2021.
  51. ^ a b Exhibition catalogue. London: Royal Academy. 1877. p. 60. Retrieved 9 June 2021.
  52. ^ a b c Exhibition catalogue. London: Royal Academy. 1879. p. 60. Retrieved 9 June 2021.
  53. ^ a b Exhibition catalogue. London: Royal Academy. 1882. p. 62. Retrieved 9 June 2021.
  54. ^ a b Exhibition catalogue. London: Royal Academy. 1884. p. 65. Retrieved 9 June 2021.
  55. ^ Exhibition catalogue. London: Royal Academy. 1891. p. 59. Retrieved 9 June 2021.
  56. ^ "Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence". museumcollections.rcm.ac.uk/. Royal College of Music. Retrieved 9 June 2021. Collection ref. PPHC000325
  57. ^ a b "William Shakespeare". artuk.org. Art UK. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
  58. ^ "John Ruskin". artuk.org. Art UK. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
  59. ^ a b "Richard Jefferies". artuk.org. Art UK. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
  60. ^ "Alfred, Lord Tennyson". artuk.org. Art UK. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
  61. ^ a b "Charles Darwin". artuk.org. Art UK. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
  62. ^ a b "Walter Scott". artuk.org. Art UK. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
  63. ^ "Thomas Carlyle". artuk.org. Art UK. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
  64. ^ "Robert Burns". artuk.org. Art UK. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
  65. ^ "Alderman Richard Ellis". artuk.org. Art UK. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
  66. ^ a b Compton, Ann (2014). Facing the Future: sculpture from the Harrogate Collection. UK: Harrogate Borough Council. p. 28,32,52. ISBN 9781898408116.
  67. ^ "Mary Jane Ellis". artuk.org. Art UK. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
  68. ^ "Alderman Richard Ellis (1821–1895)". artuk.org. Art UK. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
  69. ^ "Barry Alderman George Dawson". artuk.org. Art UK. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
  70. ^ "Alderman Richard Ellis (1821–1895)". artuk.org. Art UK. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
  71. ^ "Albert Victor (1864–1892), Duke of Clarence 1890". artuk.org. Art UK. Retrieved 14 June 2021.

Further reading[edit]

  • The Royal Academy of Arts: a complete dictionary of contributors and their work from its foundation in 1769 to 1904. Vol. 8: Toft to Zwecker. London: Royal Academy. 1906. p. 187.

External links[edit]