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