Francis John Williamson
|Francis John Williamson|
The sculptors's bust of Queen Victoria
17 July 1833|
Hampstead, London, England
12 March 1920 86) (aged|
Esher, Surrey, England
|Residence||Fairholme, 79 High Street, Esher, Surrey, England|
Francis John Williamson (17 July 1833 – 12 March 1920) was a British portrait sculptor, reputed to have been Queen Victoria's favourite.
Williamson exhibited with the Royal Academy of Arts 38 times from 1853–1897. and with the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists in 1868, when he showed several items, including a medallion depicting Mrs W. Wills, 1887 and 1902. It was during his time with Foley that he first met Victoria. In 1870, she commissioned a memorial to George IV's daughter Princess Charlotte and her husband Prince Leopold (Victoria's uncle) which was erected inside their former home, Claremont. (The memorial was subsequently moved to St George's Church, Esher.) Many members of the royal family subsequently sat for him, and in 1887 he sculpted the (Golden) Jubilee bust of Queen Victoria, which was replicated for display around the British Empire.
Williamson received a number of commissions from the municipal authorities in Birmingham. These included a marble bust of the Shakespearian scholar Samuel Timmins, now in the Library of Birmingham, a statue of the dissenting theologian and natural philosopher Joseph Priestley, now in Chamberlain Square, a statue of Sir Josiah Mason, (destroyed, but a 1952 bronze cast of the bust, by William Bloye, is in the suburb of Erdington), a statue of preacher and reformer George Dawson (since destroyed), a statue of John Skirrow Wright (also destroyed; a 1956 bronze cast of the bust by Bloye is in Birmingham Council House), and the decoration on the pediment of the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, a work known as the Allegory of Fame Rewarding the Arts. A plaster cast of his bust of Tennyson (1893) is in the National Portrait Gallery.
He met his future wife, Elizabeth Smith, while staying in Esher and they married in 1857 In 1860, they set up a home and him a studio at Fairholme, 79, High Street, Esher, where he eventually died. The building (later named "The Bunch of Grapes" and now "Grapes House") is extant, and carries a blue plaque, erected by the Esher Residents Association in 2010, in commemoration of Williamson.
His younger brother John Henry Williamson (born c. 1843) was a silversmith.
List of selected works
- Bust of Samuel Timmins, now in the Library of Birmingham
- Statue of Sister Dora, Walsall
- Memorial to Prince Leopold and Princess Charlotte, now at St George's Church, Esher, Surrey
- Memorial Bust of the Duke of Albany, Christ Church, Esher
- Diamond Jubilee Memorial, Esher
- Tomb of William Brett, 1st Viscount Esher and Viscountess Esher, Christ Church churchyard, Esher
- The Shrubsole Memorial, Market Place, Kingston upon Thames
- Bust of Lord Tennyson
- Queen Victoria, bust, many copies
- His Royal Highness Prince Edward of York
- Monument to James Young Gibson in Dean Cemetery, Edinburgh (1887)
- Jesus as the Good Shepherd
- Allegory of Fame Rewarding the Arts, Pediment, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (1884)
- a statue of Sir Josiah Mason (1885; destroyed)
- bronze cast of the bust, by William Bloye (1952)
- statue of George Dawson (1885; destroyed)
- statue of John Skirrow Wright (1883; destroyed)
- Joseph Priestley statue, now in Chamberlain Square, Birmingham (Bronze, cast in 1951 from marble original of 1874)
- Memorial to Dean Milman, St Paul's Cathedral
- George Phoenix, collaborator
- "Francis John Williamson". 2013. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
- Noszlopy, George T. (24 April 1998). Public Sculpture of Birmingham. Liverpool University Press. ISBN 0853236925.
- "Francis John Williamson (1833–1920)". The Victorian Web. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
- "Memorial to Prince Leopold and Princess Charlotte". The Victorian Web. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
- "Esher Residents Association Blue Plaque Scheme – Current Status". Esher Residents Association. Retrieved 3 September 2013.
- Coordinates: 51°22′08″N 0°21′57″W / 51.368769°N 0.365781°W
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