This is the fifteenth volume of a series which has achieved an international reputation, and expands on Terry Cavanagh's volume, Public Sculpture of Liverpool. Cheshire and Merseyside are exceptionally rich in public sculpture. Church monuments include fine neoclassical works by Lorenzo Bartolini and Pietro Tenerani, the two artists who dominated Italian sculpture after the death of Canova in 1822. The very moving Ellen Legh memorial at Winwick of about 1831 is R.J. Wyatt’s masterpiece. As for architectural sculpture the reliefs on the Municipal Buildings at Crewe by Frederick Schenk of 1902-4 are among the best examples of the so-called “New Sculpture.” There are superb war memorials by the leading sculptors of the period, Goscombe John, Sargeant Jagger, Hermon Cawthra, C.J. Allen, Alfred Drury and Tyson Smith at Port Sunlight, West Kirby, Bootle, Eastham, Warrington, Birkenhead and Southport. The war memorial at Macclesfield by the Manchester sculptor John Millard is of exceptional and highly unusual realism. Statues and monuments to the great industrialists who transformed northern Cheshire around 1900 can be found at Northwich, Bootle, Birkenhead and Port Sunlight. George Frampton’s symbolist statues of Queen Victoria at Southport and St Helens are among his finest public works. More recently Antony Gormley’s evocative “iron men” on Crosby Beach and Jaume Plensa’s expressive Dream at a former colliery at St Helens have acquired a national reputation. The book has a catalogue section with a very detailed account of about 220 sculptures covering dating, commissioning, attribution, style, subject matter, cost, materials, dimensions, inscriptions, influence, condition, repairs, relocation, contemporary criticism and present reputation. Nearly all these sculptures are illustrated in the book by at least one photograph. There is an extended introduction analyzing the various types of public sculpture in the area and their history with reproductions of historic photographs. Detailed biographies of all the local sculptors can be found in a separate section.
Reg Phillips is Senior Lecturer in Photography at Liverpool John Moores University.
Timothy Stevens was Director of the Walker Art Gallery between 1971 and 1987.
Public Sculpture of Cheshire and Merseyside
This is a scholarly and highly informative guide to an area notably rich in public sculpture. Combining deep local knowledge with a broader critical perspective, the authors draw on a wealth of primary sources, from artists’ papers to company records and the copious minutes of memorial committees; the responses of contemporary critics are also analysed. It is excellent on the whys and hows of public sculpture, on the process of commission or donation, and the motives – especially political – of those involved.
220 × 250 mm
October 31, 2012
Public Sculpture of Britain 15