Thomas Thornycroft

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Thomas Thornycroft Thornycroft, Thomas.jpg
Thomas Thornycroft
Thomas Thornycroft's statue of Boadicea and her Daughters in London. BoadiceaStatue.jpg
Thomas Thornycroft's statue of Boadicea and her Daughters in London.

Thomas Thornycroft (19 May 1815 – 30 August 1885) was an English sculptor and engineer.



Thornycroft was born at Great Tidnock, near Gawsworth, Cheshire, [1] the eldest son of John Thornycroft, a farmer. He was educated at Congleton Grammar School and then briefly apprenticed to a surgeon. He moved to London where he spent four years as an assistant to the sculptor John Francis. In 1840 he married Francis' daughter, Mary, who was also a sculptor. [2]

Gawsworth civil parish and village in Cheshire East, England

Gawsworth is a civil parish and village in the unitary authority of Cheshire East and the ceremonial county of Cheshire, England. The population of the civil parish as of the 2011 census was 1,705. It is one of the eight ancient parishes of Macclesfield Hundred. Twenty acres of the civil parish were transferred to Macclesfield civil parish in 1936

Congleton town and civil parish in Cheshire East, England

Congleton is a town and civil parish in the unitary authority of Cheshire East and the ceremonial county of Cheshire, England. It lies on the banks of the River Dane, 21 miles (34 km) south of Manchester and to the west of the Macclesfield Canal. At the 2011 Census, the parish had a population of 26,482.

John Francis was an English sculptor.

In 1843 he exhibited Medea about to Slay her Children at the exhibition held at Westminster Hall, held to choose sculptors to make works for the new Houses of Parliament. It led to a commission to make two bronze statues of barons who signed the Magna Carta for the House of Lords. [3]

Palace of Westminster Meeting place of the Parliament of the United Kingdom,

The Palace of Westminster serves as the meeting place of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Commonly known as the Houses of Parliament after its occupants, the Palace lies on the north bank of the River Thames in the City of Westminster, in central London, England.

House of Lords upper house in the Parliament of the United Kingdom

The House of Lords, also known as the House of Peers and domestically usually referred to simply as the Lords, is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Membership is granted by appointment or else by heredity or official function. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster. Officially, the full name of the house is the Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled.

For the Great Exhibition of 1851 Thornycroft made an over-life-sized plaster equestrian statue of Queen Victoria which was much admired by the queen herself and by Prince Albert. [2] He had the royal family's full co-operation in its creation, the queen's horse being sent round to his studio several times during the process. [3] Fifty bronze casts of a statuette based on the plaster, but with the horse's legs in a different position, were commissioned by the Art Union of London to be distributed as prizes between 1854 and 1859. [4]

Great Exhibition 1851 international exhibition in Hyde Park, London

The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations or The Great Exhibition, an international exhibition, took place in Hyde Park, London, from 1 May to 15 October 1851. It was the first in a series of World's Fairs, exhibitions of culture and industry that became popular in the 19th century. The Great Exhibition was organised by Henry Cole and by Prince Albert, husband of the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom, Queen Victoria. Famous people of the time attended, including Charles Darwin, Samuel Colt, members of the Orléanist Royal Family and the writers Charlotte Brontë, Charles Dickens, Lewis Carroll, George Eliot, Alfred Tennyson and William Makepeace Thackeray.

Equestrian statue statue of a rider mounted on a horse

An equestrian statue is a statue of a rider mounted on a horse, from the Latin "eques", meaning "knight", deriving from "equus", meaning "horse". A statue of a riderless horse is strictly an "equine statue". A full-sized equestrian statue is a difficult and expensive object for any culture to produce, and figures have typically been portraits of rulers or, in the Renaissance and more recently, military commanders.

Albert, Prince Consort Husband of Queen Victoria

Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha was the husband of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

He made several memorials to Prince Albert following his death in 1861. The first to be completed was an equestrian sculpture at Halifax, [3] unveiled in September 1864. [5] He went on to create similar works for Wolverhampton and Liverpool. [6] The one at Liverpool, commissioned in 1862 but not completed until five years later, [6] was soon paired with an equestrian portrait of Queen Victoria (1869), the pose based on the earlier bronze statuette. [4]

In 1867 Thornycroft was commissioned to make the marble group entitled Commerce for the Albert Memorial in Kensington Gardens in London. [2] He chose to depict the allegorical female figure of Commerce as a civilising influence: [7] she is shown standing on a column, encouraging a young merchant who stands at her side, while a crouching figure brings her corn, and another, bearded and wearing a turban, offers a box of jewels. [8] George Gilbert Scott, the designer of the memorial thought the concept was "too complicated and artificial". [7]

Albert Memorial Memorial to Prince Albert in Kensington Gardens, London

The Albert Memorial, directly north of the Royal Albert Hall in Kensington Gardens, London, was commissioned by Queen Victoria in memory of her beloved husband Prince Albert, who died in 1861. Designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott in the Gothic Revival style, it takes the form of an ornate canopy or pavilion 176 feet (54 m) tall, in the style of a Gothic ciborium over the high altar of a church, sheltering a statue of the prince facing south. It took over ten years to complete, the £120,000 cost met by public subscription.

Kensington Gardens park in London, England

Kensington Gardens, once the private gardens of Kensington Palace, are among the Royal Parks of London. The gardens are shared by the City of Westminster and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and sit immediately to the west of Hyde Park, in western central London. The gardens cover an area of 270 acres. The open spaces of Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park, Green Park, and St. James's Park together form an almost continuous "green lung" in the heart of London. Kensington Gardens are Grade I listed on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens.

George Gilbert Scott English architect (1811–1878)

Sir George Gilbert Scott, styled Sir Gilbert Scott, was a prolific English Gothic revival architect, chiefly associated with the design, building and renovation of churches and cathedrals, although he started his career as a leading designer of workhouses. Over 800 buildings were designed or altered by him.

Thornycroft also worked on a monumental representation of Boadicea and Her Daughters , [2] exhibiting a "Colossal head of Boadicea, a part of a chariot group now in progress" in 1864. [9] A short biography published that year said he had already been working on it for many years "at intervals". [3] The sculpture was not, however, cast in bronze until 1902, 17 years after his death. [2] when it was installed on plinth on the Victoria Embankment, by Westminster Bridge, London. [10] The figures are shown in a chariot with scythed wheels, drawn by two horses. [10]

<i>Boadicea and Her Daughters</i> sculptural group in Westminster, London

Boadicea and Her Daughters is a bronze sculptural group in London representing Boudica, queen of the Celtic Iceni tribe, who led an uprising in Roman Britain. It is located to the north side of the western end of Westminster Bridge, near Portcullis House and Westminster Pier, facing Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster across the road. It is considered the magnum opus of its sculptor, the English artist and engineer Thomas Thornycroft. Thornycroft worked on it from 1856 until shortly before his death in 1885, sometimes assisted by his son William Hamo Thornycroft, but it was not erected in its current position until 1902.

Bronze metal alloy

Bronze is an alloy consisting primarily of copper, commonly with about 12–12.5% tin and often with the addition of other metals and sometimes non-metals or metalloids such as arsenic, phosphorus or silicon. These additions produce a range of alloys that may be harder than copper alone, or have other useful properties, such as stiffness, ductility, or machinability.

Victoria Embankment Road and river-walk along the north bank of the River Thames in London

Victoria Embankment is part of the Thames Embankment, a road and river-walk along the north bank of the River Thames in London. It runs from the Palace of Westminster to Blackfriars Bridge in the City of London.

He exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1839 and 1874. [9]

In later life Thomas worked with his older son John Isaac Thornycroft (who was to become a shipbuilder) on designs for steam launches, [2] having, in 1864, purchased land by the Thames at Chiswick to use for boat-building. [11]

In 1875, together with Mary and another son, Hamo Thornycroft, he designed the Poets' Fountain , near Hyde Park Corner, London. Other works by Thornycroft are in the Old Bailey and in Westminster Abbey, London. Through his daughter, Teresa, he was the grandfather of the poet Siegfried Sassoon. Thomas died in Brenchley, Kent, and was buried in Chiswick Old Church, Middlesex. His estate was over £11,046. [2]

His other works include:

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  1. "Thomas Thornycroft". Mapping the Practice and Profession of Sculpture in Britain and Ireland 1851–1951. University of Glasgow History of Art and HATII. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Mark Stocker, 'Thornycroft, Thomas (1815–1885)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography , Oxford University Press, Sept 2004 online edn, Oct 2006 , accessed 2 January 2009
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 Reeve, Lovell Augustus, ed. (1864). Portraits of Men of Eminence, with Biographical Memoirs. 2. London: Lowell Reeve and Co. pp. 128–32.
  4. 1 2 "Queen Victoria on horseback". Victoria and Albert Museum. Retrieved 3 May 2013.
  5. "The Prince Albert statue/". Calderdale Council. Archived from the original on 4 December 2008. Retrieved 3 May 2013.
  6. 1 2 Bayley 1983, p.23
  7. 1 2 Bayley 1983, p.87
  8. Bayley 1983, p.91
  9. 1 2 Graves, Algernon (1905). The Royal Academy: A Complete Dictionary of Contributors from its Foundations in 1769 to 1904. 6. London: Henry Graves. pp. 383–4.
  10. 1 2 Outdoor Monuments in London, p12
  11. "Chiswick: Economic history". A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 7: Acton, Chiswick, Ealing and Brentford, West Twyford, Willesden. Institute of Historical Research. 1982. Retrieved 3 May 2013.
  12. Groves, Linden (2004), Historic Parks & Gardens of Cheshire, Ashbourne: Landmark, p. 124, ISBN   1-84306-124-4