Friday, February 24, 2017

William Hamo Thornycroft

Sir William Hamo Thornycroft, usually called 'Hamo Thornycroft', is also a British sculptor (see the last post about Sir Ian Rank-Broadley), born in London in 1850, who sculpted a significant amount of beautiful large male sculptures.


He sculpted many statues visible in London, and was one of the youngest members of the Royal Academy (elected in 1882), maybe because of his strong sculpting family heritage : his father, mother, and grand father were also sculptors.
At the Academy, he was influenced by the painter and sculptor Lord Frederic Leighton, already mentioned in this blog, about Icarus, and also for his 'Sluggard' sculpture.

Painting of Thornycroft by Edward Blake Wirgman 1884

Thornycroft won the gold medal of the Royal Academy in 1876, with his sculpture 'Warrior bearing a Wounded Youth' that you can see here :

Edmund Gosse, a critic, and very, very, good friend of Thornycroft (he wrote him several love letters) invented the term 'New Sculpture' and considered that Thornycroft was a pioneer in this movement. See the article about the Gay Love Letters in the sources at the end of this post.

Among his known sculptures, there is the Teucer (one sculpted in plaster in 1881, then in bronze in 1882).

And also the Mower, a controversial sculpture when it was presented as the subject is a laborer. Done in plaster in 1884, then bronze in 1894. This one is visible in Liverpool, and Philip C., one of our readers from Liverpool, was kind to send me the link (see Sources) for the Liverpool Museum where an interesting text about this sculpture is presented.


After that sculpture, his work received a considerable reputation, and he got several commissions. He was knighted in 1917. If you walk in Merlbury road in London, you can see the blue plaque which mentions the location of his studio.

Liverpool Museum
Curator Interview about a sculpture of Thornycroft and the New Sculpture Movement

Leicester Galleries

Glasgow sculpture - Hornycroft Biography
 The Gay Love Letters of Edmund Gosse to Hamo Thornycroft


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The beautiful males of Ian Rank-Broadley

Ian Rank-Broadley, born in Surrey (England) in 1952, is one of the few successful living sculptors who predominantly sculpts the male figure, and the male nude. Being monumental groups, portraits, small medals, reliefs or attractive life size bodies, he masters the anatomy & the movement, giving you the real envy to touch them.

As he declares himself in his website : "'The choice of the male figure / nude as a dominant motif was made quite early when I realised that the female nude had, to a large extent, been robbed of its power by the commercial world of advertising, whereas the male nude still retained a power that could excite, grab attention and shock. The reaction of the spectator to the male figure was stronger, whether out of competition, fear or embarrassment. It proved to be a potent image. For me, the sculptor, this fact reinforced the work with a greater resonance and meaning.''

Many of Ian Rank-Broadley sculptures have a classical influence, like his Heroic Torso and fragments etc. The towel on the work above gives somewhat a more contemporary look, which I like a lot as well.

Below is his large sculpture in bronze 'Towards Another'  life size.
Towards Another - Bronze

Towards Another - Bronze

And here some of his reliefs (you can read the inspiration of these on the sculptor's website).
Berlin Boy 1
Berlin Boy 2
A private collection holds this Heroic Male Torso. More details about the lizzard in his website!

Other versions.

One of Ian Rank-Broadley major projects is the Armed Forces Memorial, at the National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas, near Lichfield, in Staffordshire. Mythology (with Achilles & Patrocle) and symbolic (sun rays) play a role in these two groups of sculptures 'The Stretchers Bearers' and 'The Gates'. See the full story, more pictures and description in the link at the end of this post under 'Sources'.

The Stretchers - detail

The Sculptor - detail

Photo from
The Gates - detail

I encourage you to visit his website to get a full idea of his talent and discover his other sculptures, like the acrobat, the swimmer, and his numerous portraits and medals (see also his coin with the effigy of H.M. Queen Elizabeth II, and the medal 'Prisoner of Conscience').

Ian Rank-Broadley website 
Armed Forces Memorial 
Les Shutterchance