London: Artists and Subjects, Sculpture 66 Could anyone tell us more about the sculptor of these portrait busts of opticians in the collection of The Royal Society?

WMRII_TRS_RS_13590_001
Topic: Artist

George Dollond (1774–1852) was a British optician who was elected a Fellow of The Royal Society in 1819.

There is another portrait bust in the same collection of instrument maker and optician John Dollond (1706–1761), who invented the Achromatic Refracting Telescope. He was elected a Fellow of The Royal Society in 1761. Inscribed on the back ‘R.J. GARLDAND SC.T. CAMBERWELL.’ [sic]

The 1881 census lists Richard J. Garland, aged 65, a builder and sculptor living in Camberwell.

Andrew Shore, Entry reviewed by Art UK

66 comments

Kieran Owens,

Richard James Garland was born to William Garland (a stone mason) and his wife Mary Ann, in late 1815 and was baptised at St. Mary's Newington, Surrey, on the 20th February 1816.

In 1841, at an address at Grosvenor Place Court, Richard Garland , aged 23, was listed as a "Sculptor". His father, William, then aged 50, was listed as a "Builder".

The Globe, of Friday 21st December 1849, carried the following marriage notice:

"At Walworth, Mr. Richard James Garland, of Camberwell, to Ellen, daughter of Mr. Kiddle, of Carter Street, Walworth."

The 1851 census shows Richard J. Garland, a "Sculptor", aged 35 (therefore born c. 1816) living in the parish of Camberwell.

In 1861, aged 45, he is living at 33, Brunswick Terrace, St. Mary Newington, and is now listed as a "Builder".

In 1871 he is living at 1, Addington Square, Camberwell, aged 55, with a wife and six children. He is listed as a "Marble Mason".

In 1881, at the same address as 1871, he is 65, and, as Andrew has written, was "Builder & Sculptor".

In 1891, he is found at 18, Derwent Grove, Camberwell, aged 75, and is listed as a "Monumental Artist (?)", as is his 35-year-old son, Alfred.

In 1901, from the same Derwent Grove address, he is 85, and is a "Retired Builder". Both of his sons, Richard (50) and Alfred (45), are listed as "Monumental Mason".

Richard James Garland died on the 22nd August 1903, aged 87. His burial record, at Norwood Cemetery, in Lambeth, states that his address was 18, Derwent Grove, East Dulwich, but that his body had been removed for burial from Camberwell Workhouse.

Just to break the silence on this one: are there any art-dictionary references to Garland, or any other known/detectable examples of his work than the two Dollond busts cited above? He did not exhibit at the RA or the British Institution. I don't have copies of the SBA list, Gunnis or Ingrid Roscoe's more recent update to hand and he is not on the Mapping Sculpture database (though a Henry Garland is but probably not connected since b. in Exeter, 1831).

Jacinto Regalado,

The 2009 Roscoe update of Gunnis is the place to look. It is currently offline while the database is updated by the Henry Moore Foundation, so a paper book version would have to be consulted.

Osmund Bullock,

He's not in Jane Johnson's SBA/RBA exhibitors' book (up till 1893), nor does Johnson & Greutzner's British Artists exhibiting 1880-1940 mention him. I used to have Gunnis (Sculptors 1660-1851), which is very strong on monumental & architectural work, but unwisely lent it to a mad (and now dead) sculptor friend 30 years ago.

However, an electronic version of the the Roscoe/ Hardy/ Sullivan 2009 update is usually available here https://bit.ly/38UlXeo , but seems to be offline at the moment. Try again in a few days - it's the only reference source I can think of that might have picked up on him.

As Kieran says, Garland was born in late 1815; but his Feb 1816 baptism record is even more precise than that - his DOB was September 23rd.

Osmund Bullock,

Sorry, Jacinto, I've part-doubled up on your info - should have refreshed the page before posting.

Kieran Owens,

Perhaps Marion or David could update the current birth date from 1816 to 1815.

Jacinto Regalado,

Based on this bust, I'd say Garland was perfectly competent and evidently well trained. He probably did not work for well-known or upper class clients, which would help explain his obscurity.

Thanks all; the early Grosvenor Place Court address must be Camberwell (though no longer exists). Other bits yet to emerge could usefully include the dates of his wife Ellen (nee Carter).

The Roscoe/ Hardy/ Sullivan 2009 database referred to above is indeed offline and has been for almost a year as they put it onto a new footing. When I remonstrated that lockdown was not the time to do this, I was told that they could provide individual entries if approached by email! It's not something that I can take on at present.

Jacob, thanks very much for letting us know that the editor for the online edition of Roscoe/ Hardy/ Sullivan's biographical dictionary of sculptors will accept email enquiries.

Thanks to Osmund for the link, which is copied here. https://bit.ly/3sEsyBU

I can write to them, but I'd like to check first whether anyone's already onto that?

Garland's birth date has been amended.

Jacinto Regalado,

So then nothing else is known about or by this Garland. I suppose he may have been related to the Garland of Garland & Fieldwick, given it was a firm based in Camberwell.

Jacinto Regalado,

Pieter, I believe it was Ellen (née Kiddle) of Carter Street, Walworth.

E Jones,

I had a look at this a while back, but am afraid have been a little too unwell to post. There are a few bits of information that may still be of use though.

Am I right in thinking that the information from Roscoe says that that the company stopped trading in 1847? Am I reading it correctly?

From a notice in the Newspaper of 1864 the partnership of ‘Garland and Fieldwick” wasn’t dissolved until 1864, after the death of Henry Fieldwick. The elder Garland (William) didn’t die until 1875. I’ve also seen planning permission notices being awarded with “Garland and Fieldwick” as the main contractors until at least the mid 1860’s. This is why I presumed that Richard J. Garland’s occupation was described in different ways at various times throughout his life. The family were builders as well as Monumental masons. Building drains, demolishing and erecting conservatories etc

According to the “Survey of London” ....
“No. 86 Camberwell Road and the buildings forming the entrance to the yard next to it were erected in 1814-15 (as No. 16 Grosvenor Place) for Messrs. Garland and Fieldwick, masons and builders. the firm continued to occupy the premesis until 1869.”
I think that this is why he was noted to have lived in Grosvenor Place during an earlier part of his life.

As mentioned above Richard J. Garland was recorded as having been taken from the workhouse to be buried.

He was admitted as Rich James Garland into the Constance Rd Workhouse on Wednesday the 12th of August. The reason being given for admission was that he was “Alleged insane”. Observations on his discharge sheet note that he had “Senile Dementia”. After having his last meal on Tuesday the 18th of August, he was discharged through death.

I have images of all of the above if at all needed.

Kieran Owens,

Ellen Garland (née Kiddle, daughter of William Kiddle and Ann Goulbourn) was born in Newington, Surrey, in 1826 and was interred, aged 86, from her address at 523, Lordship Lane, Camberwell, in the Borough burial ground at Forest Hill Road, Peckham Rye. She and Richard James Garland had eight children between their marriage in 1849 and the birth of their last child in 1865.

Jacinto Regalado,

So then Richard Garland should be the son of the William Garland who was a partner in Garland & Fieldwick. Roscoe says the firm flourished 1807-47, but that may be because the latest in its list of works by the firm is dated 1847. It may well be that the firm continued in business after that, but no later works are known about or considered notable enough to the compilers of the dictionary.

Kieran Owens,

Oops, I omitted her burial date, which was the 26th February 1912. The year before, Ellen had been included in the 1911 UK Census at the same Lordship Lane address. Head of household was her son-in-law William Henry Blaxland (51; a steam laundry wet cleaner), whose wife was Beatrice (45; a steam laundry depôt manager). Also on the census return was their son William Richard Blaxland (19), a draper's assistant and Ellen's sons Richard (60; a Parliamentary Registration Agent's clerk) and Alfred (55; a Cemetery monumental letter cutter).

Jacinto Regalado,

Possibly, Kieran, but I expect he was also neither well-connected nor a fashionable name. Still, there must be other busts by him, probably in private hands or unattributed.

E Jones,

Out of interest, if you Google '86 Camberwell Rd', there are a fair few properties available to rent. The address of these properties are listed as:

Stonemasons Yard
86 Camberwell Rd
Camberwell
London
SE5

The site of "Garland and Fieldwick" does appear to have been developed, but a reference to it's previous use has been kept.

Osmund Bullock,

Attached is a photo of the buildings and yard entrance in 1951...by then much altered, of course.

Henry Fieldwick didn't die until Feb 1865, so it was his retirement rather than death that triggered the partnership's dissolution ("by mutual consent") at the end of April 1864; William Garland continued the business on his own sole account thereafter (see attached). The announcement of Fieldwick's death (also attached) said he had been with the firm for 50 years, which suggests that the partnership was formed in 1814 - i.e. at the same time as the Camberwell premises were built, which makes sense.

The initial 'floruit' date for the firm of 1807 given in Roscoe seems to be based on just one monument whose date is queried, and was probably just a guess by Gunnis based on the death date of the person commemorated (a Mary Walter was indeed buried at Crayford in May 1807). The next one shown is not until 1815 (a firm date); with two other pieces of evidence concurring, I feel that 1814 is a much better year to choose.

P.S. The reading of the address in the 1841 Census as 'Grosvenor Place Court' is an error: what it actually says is 'Grosvenor Place Contd.', i.e. a continuation of the same address from the previous page.

Sorry about the Carter/Kiddle mix-up: easily done at 2 a.m.

Could someone with census access confirm Richard and his wife Ellen's specific address in 1851. Kieran's initial survey mentions him still with his father in 1841 at Grosvenor Place but I assume that really means 'parents', unless we know his mother died early.

In Osmund's 1951 photo of 86 Camberwell Road, the house of that number mentioned in the Survey of London is presumably the two-storey stuccoed one to left of (and over) the yard entrance. It's also a reasonable assumption -though the Survey is vague - that Garland & Fieldwick built the whole frontage though that to right of the entrance looks later/ adapted, at least below the decorative parapet (which might be an example of the firm's work).

Kieran Owens,

In the 1841 census, the listed occupants of Grosvenor Place are (in chronological order of birth):

Parents:

William Garland, 50, Builder
Mary A., 50

Children:

Mary A., 26
William, 25, Clerk
Richard, 23, Sculptor
Ann, 22
John, 21, Clerk
Isabella, 18
Edward, 15
Emily, 10

Attached is the 1851 return for Richard (35) and his wife Ellen (26), with their son Richard Kiddle Garland (4 months)

Thanks again: this all amounts to the attached...though there is some resolution needed re: the children if only the eight shown, and previously stated as born up to 1865, since Beatrix (45 at the 1911 census = so born in 1865/6 must have been the last) -so perhaps it was nine.

Osmund Bullock,

Pieter, those children in the 1841 Census are William Garland's, not Richard's. Richard didn't marry until 1849 (18 Dec - he still of Grosvenor Place and a 'Builder', ditto his father), and his eight children were, in age order: Richard Kiddle (born 1850), Ellen (1852), William (1854), Alfred (1856), Joseph (1857), Albert (1861), Percy (1863) and Beatrice (not Beatrix - 1865).

Interestingly in their baptism records their father Richard Jas Garland's profession is given as 'Builder' every time bar one (and then it is 'Gentleman', in 1856). The first six were christened at St Peter, Walworth (confusingly in the parish of St Mary, Newington), the final two at St George, Camberwell. His address is Albany Road 1850-54, Brunswick Terrace 1856-61, and Addington Square 1863-65.

One small correction to an earlier misreading: in the 1891 Census RJG's profession is not "Monumental Artist", but "Monumental Carver & Engraver".

Thanks Osmund: of course. Missed the 'William' there. Too many late nights: will add corrections etc.

I assume, 'Albany Road 1850-54, Brunswick Terrace 1856-61, and Addington Square 1863-65' are just what the baptism entries say, not total residence spans.

Kieran Owens,

By way of uncovering the minutest of details regarding Garland's biography, the Observer, of Sunday 23rd December 1849, carried the following notice:

"18th, at St. Peter's Church, Walworth, Mr. Richard James Garland, Camberwell, to Ellen, youngest daughter of Mr. Kiddle, Carter Street, Walworth."

Kieran Owens,

The Proceedings of the Royal Society of London (1895, Volume 57, Page 45), carried this entry:

"Earlier in the session , Mr. Alfred W. Dollond presented a marble bust by Garland, of his great-uncle, George Dollond, F.R.S., who himself presented a bust of John Dollond, in 1843, by the same sculptor."

Following the Royal Society's move to Burlington House in 1857, the latter bust was exhibited in its Meeting Room, and would appear to have been included in a privately printed catalogue raisonnée of the Society's art collection, which can presumably still be consulted in its library:

https://bit.ly/2Ky1hzL



Osmund Bullock,

Kieran, you've actually uncovered that "minutest of details" (re RJG's marriage) before, in your first post in this discussion (albeit from a different newspaper)! As I mention above (08:55 yesterday), the wedding actually took place on the 18th Dec.

Pieter, yes, your assumption (14:04 yesterday) about addresses is correct – Albany Rd 50, 52 & 54; Brunswick Terrace 56, 57 & 61; Addington Sq 63 & 65.

It's perhaps worth mentioning that whichever parish/ township/ borough/ registration district they technically fell under at different points over the years (and these changed frequently during the C19th in S London, as populations boomed and new parishes and administrative districts for various purposes were created, sub-divided, combined, etc), those three addresses and Grosvenor Place/Camberwell Rd are/were all very close to each other, just a few hundred yards, and any of them could have been described as being in Newington, Walworth or Camberwell. I’m preparing an annotated contemporary map of the area which I'll post later.

Another point of interest is that the Grosvenor Place premises, built 1814-15, were almost opposite the terminus of the Great Surrey Canal, which had been extended to Camberwell in 1810. I suspect that neither the timing nor the choice of site was a coincidence – it would have been a very efficient way of bringing in quantities of stone and other heavy building materials. A propos E Jones’s discovery of flats to rent in a development on the site of the Garland and Fieldwick yard, I was surprised to find that much of the original frontage on Camberwell Rd has been retained, with some alterations. See attached.

1 attachment

That's very interesting Osmund - and good to see the frontage has been so well preserved. Its present appearance suggests, though perhaps deceptively, that the now-stuccoed house on the left but shown as brick in your 1951 photo, may have been part of the original Garland & Fieldwick property. That is, pre-existing when they built the lower section either side of the now infilled yard entrance, though even the 1951 photo shows the right side must have been later remodelled. The decorative parapet and carved plaques could also be early Victorian changes. Perhaps the right side was also originally a plain Georgian house, only converted to a frontage of grander 'commercial' appearance as company offices later. Whether the whole first comprised two or three houses by about 1815, it may be that both G & F lived there as neighbours in the early days of their partnership. The carved plaques are presumably 'company work' and at least pre-1850. I'll have a closer look when next that way.

Osmund Bullock,

Annotated map of 1868 attached. This is the key:

1. St Mary’s, Newington, where Richard James Garland was baptised in Feb 1816.
2. St Peter’s, Walworth, where Richard’s first six children were baptised 1850-61 (and where his father William was a churchwarden in 1839 when a font carved by Richard was installed).
3. St George’s, Camberwell, where his last two children were baptised 1863-65.
4. Carter Street, Walworth, where the family of Richard’s wife Ellen Kiddle lived in Dec 1849.
5. 16 Grosvenor Place (86 Camberwell Rd), Newington - the premises of Garland & Fieldwick built 1814/15. Richard’s father William lived here from at latest 1817 until his death in 1875, and Richard himself until c.1850.
6. [74] Albany Road, where Richard & family lived c.1850-c.1855.
7. [33] Brunswick Terrace, where Richard & family lived c.1855-c.1862.
8. [1] Addington Sq, where Richard & family lived c.1862-after 1881 (but before 1891).
9. Camberwell wharves of the Grand (not Great) Surrey Canal.
10. [8] North Terrace, Camberwell, where our sitter George Dollond had a house from (at latest) 1841, and where he died in May 1852.**

**This is very close indeed to Grosvenor Place, and presumably explains how the commission to carve the 1843 posthumous bust of Dollond’s grandfather came about.

Kieran Owens,

Hello Osmund, the minutest detail that might have escaped your notice was that the wedding took place at "St. Peter's Church" (the same place as the six children's baptism), a (probably pedantic) fact that I had not included in my original post.

Osmund Bullock,

My apologies, Kieran...and it also gave the date which the other one lacked. Because I'd already found the actual register entry (attached), I had indeed failed to notice that the (first) story in the Globe gave neither of those details.

Returning to the busts. The new fact introduced by Osmund, that George Dollond also lived close to William Garland and his Grosvenor Place yard suggests they (and families) were probably known to each other as neighbours. The most obvious connection - given they lived in a much more religious age - is through all attending one, if not several, of the churches that have been mentioned. Such acquaintance, and that Garland & Fieldwick were a well-established local firm of builders and 'monumental masons' by the 1830s is sufficient to explain why George - either through William or directly - asked Richard Garland to bend his talents to the 1843 (or perhaps slightly earlier) posthumous bust of his grandfather, John Dollond.

The question posed by the bust of George himself - albeit more 'from-the-life-like' - is whether it is, though if so presumably c. 1844-51. If done just after his death in 1852 it could have been based partly on a death mask but also on personal knowledge and recollection of him over at least the nine years previously, and probably more. The classical 'draped' form might suggest it's posthumous but not necessarily.

George was buried in West Norwood Cemetery, under a still imposing tomb chest: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/40891918/george-dollond

Granting that being carved for the Dollonds as a domestic piece is the most probably option, an outside possibility is that it might have been done for a more local church or other memorial but somehow came back to the (collateral) family by the time it was given to the Royal Society in the 1890s.

Kieran Owens,

Ha! Fieldwork! Damned auto-spell-checker strikes again!!! It should, of course, be Fieldwick.

Osmund Bullock,

I am now going to set a rather large cat among the pigeons by suggesting that this bust of George Huggins Dollond was not carved by Richard Garland at all. Even if I’m right, though, the research we’ve done into him here is not wasted, as the other bust of George’s maternal grandfather** John Dollond undoubtedly was – indeed it was the difference between the execution of the two works that first made me wonder if we weren’t barking up the wrong tree.

I’ve been worrying for some time about the quality of George’s bust: it seemed to me a work by a very skilled and probably academically-trained portrait sculptor, not a monumental mason, however gifted. This is most noticeable in the impressive carving of the drapery, which is deeply cut and full of bold creases and folds breaking off convincingly at different angles and in different directions – extremely difficult to achieve without training and experience – and also in the subtle and sophisticated work on the face: the skin is not smooth and uniform, but has multiple tiny variations of contour conveying a sense of muscle and fat beneath – for instance the slightly droopy jowls, the gently furrowed brow. Perhaps not a first-rate artist, but a good second. The face in the bust of John, by contrast, appears quite bland and basic, the skin texture unvaried, the eyes unconvincing; and the drapery is relatively flat and shallow, and sits in far less imaginative and interesting folds. It was, of course, posthumous and likely created from a painted portrait...but even so I doubt the same sculptor could have been responsible for both.

Higher resolution details of the faces, if available, may help show the difference in quality more clearly; but meanwhile I attach a composite image of the two busts side-by-side, adjusted to show their true size relationship. George’s one is far bigger, nearly 82 cm. / 32 in. in height overall.

[** George changed his birth surname of Huggins to Dollond on joining the family firm as a partner in 1805, as did his nephew and heir (also George Huggins/Dollond). Both descended from John Dollond’s daughter Susan, who in 1761 married William Huggins.]

Osmund Bullock,

The problem with the hypothesis is, or was, that (a) I couldn’t find evidence of George ever being sculpted by another artist; and (b) even more problematic, that the donor of the work to the Royal Society c.1893, Alfred Walter Dollond (1861-1925), was apparently quite certain that the sculptor was Garland. However I have now found mention of a portrait bust by another mid-C19th artist, Charles Summers, which was exhibited as a plaster, “proposed to be executed in marble”, at the R.A. in 1851 (see https://bit.ly/3iMZjbh & attached); and research into the Dollond/ Huggins family suggests reasons why the donor could easily have been mistaken.

All of this could swiftly be disproved if the bust is signed on the back by Garland – but is it? The one of John Dollond clearly is, as stated on the Royal Society website: https://bit.ly/3pjvVvY (I suspect the ‘Garldand’ error is a typo rather than the sculptor’s incompetence). But on the page for our bust of George there is no mention of any inscription at all: https://bit.ly/3c93kWs.

Osmund Bullock,

It is disappointing to find more newly-available sculptures on Art UK that have no rear view – in fact there is only one image of each – so as ever we will have to plead with the Collection for help at a time when that may be impossible. These large Victorian busts are very heavy, and though I have often rotated them successfully in a sort of bear hug, I imagine their insurers will demand a team of four specialist movers with a crane and probably an ambulance standing by. But would they, I wonder, consider a simpler and more practical solution? Either a phone/camera held round the back (on a selfie-stick, if need be), or even just a mirror taped to a length of bamboo would enable us to know if there is anything carved there at all, and if so perhaps even what it says.

I will write more later about Charles Summers, and show some other comparable busts (most of which are in Australia); and also explain how I think it came to be attributed to the wrong artist (if it has been). And I have some interesting discoveries from George Dollond’s Will to share that lend some support to the idea that this may be Summers’ bust.

First of all, though, we need to know what’s on the back...

That's a very interestingly sceptical idea to which I can add the following.

At the RA in 1851, Charles Summers (1825-78) showed both his plaster model for a bust of George Dollond and a marble one of the notable and wealthy amateur astronomer, Henry Lawson (1877-1855: see ODNB).

In 1834 Dollond had built an 11-foot refracting telescope for Lawson, which Dollond considered the finest that he ever made and with which Lawson did work that saw him elected FRS in 1840. Towards the end of his life Lawson made moves to endow an observatory at Nottingham equipped with his telescopes and other astronomical equipment. This came to nothing but, just before his death on 22 August 1855, Lawson - who was born in Greenwich - instead offered the Dollond telescope and other items to the Greenwich Hospital School there, then under the headship of the Revd George Fisher, himself a notable astronomer, with the result that it set up a small School observatory for naval educational purposes quite separate from the Royal Observatory on the hill above.

This was a small building with two telescope (drum) domes in what is now the south end of the National Maritime Museum staff car park, seen on the right in the attached well-known photo from later in the century by Arthur Melhuish (Mus. of London coll: apols for low web resolution).

The GHS was renamed the Royal Hospital School in 1892 and a current unresolved mystery is what happened to Dollond's 'Lawson telescope' and the other observatory equipment when it moved to Holbrook, Suffolk, in 1933. Only a Dent regulator (clock) is now there, not in working order when I last saw it some years ago.

On 16 August 1855, six days before Lawson's death at Bath, George Fisher reported to the Board of Greenwich Hospital that he had heard from Mr Jones, Lawson's solicitor, that his gift would include
‘the marble bust of the donor (Mr Lawson) and that of the celebrated Dolland [sic]’. The first of these is that shown by Summers at the RA, is signed ‘Summers 1851’and is still at the RHS. I hope the green eyes and vampire fangs added in (faded) felt-tip have perhaps been removed since I last saw it but regret that, even with them, I have mislaid the electronic camera snap I took so can't post it here.

Graves's RA list states that Summers's plaster of Dollond - from life, since he died on 30 November 1852 and shown at the same time -was the model for a marble one. It may very well have also been for Lawson, though there is as yet no evidence it was, but if Summers made the marble he must also have done so before 1852 when he left for Australia and did not return until 1867.

What is not clear is the medium of the Dollond bust that Lawson gave to the Greenwich Hospital School, which is certainly not at the RHS today. If it was the plaster maquette, that is now missing along with the Dollond/Lawson telescope and other observatory 'kit' of which we have record: if it is the marble bust now with the Royal Society, then one has to explain how it left Greenwich and returned to the Dollond family for A.W. Dollond to give it to the Society in 1895.
Apart from the fact that the Hospital School itself had both an observatory and a small museum (also set up by Fisher)in part of the Queen's House, so good reason to keep it, Greenwich Hospital also had firm legal precedents against alienating such gifts. Finding official paper record (in TNA) of it doing so in this case would at least be quite a task.

That said, if the marble is not signed (which we clearly need to know) that route might help explain the misidentification that Osmund suggests: i.e. George Dollond having commissioned and presented Garland's bust of John Dollond in 1843, later Dollond family just assumed that he also did the other.

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PS: the other possibilities, of course, are that Summers did the marble for the Dollonds and Lawson had the now missing plaster; or he did two marble versions of which the one in question was the family's, leaving a 'Lawson marble version' given to GHS now missing - though I think that improbable since it has that of Lawson himself. The plaster is also not known, but given Summers's departure for Australia may not have survived the 1850s.

Osmund, it was suggested many months ago to adopt the selfie-stick approach to recording sculpture inscriptions. However, newly-available sculptures on Art UK may have been photographed some time ago, before that request. I'm not sure what the current processing times are.

Jacinto Regalado,

I expect you are correct, Osmund. The bust of George Is clearly by a well-trained sculptor. One could argue the earlier bust was inevitably limited by being based on a single-view, two-dimensional image of possibly no great quality, meaning it was an approximation; that the hair looked less natural because it was a wig, and that the drapery was simplified or toned down so as not to overshadow its wearer, but it is certainly a more basic affair.

If Garland had been capable of a bust like that of George Dollond, he could and should have had a reasonably successful career as a portrait sculptor, meaning there would be more such busts and he would have been made more of by the likes of Gunnis and Roscoe.

Osmund Bullock,

A remarkable, if complex story, Pieter: we may be on to something rather interesting here. Both being FRS, I had thought there might be a connection, and was going to investigate Henry Lawson this week. A couple of small corrections to your post: George (Huggins) Dolland died on 13 May 1852, not 30 Nov – see https://bit.ly/2YeAVpC. And though different dates are widely given, Summers is now known to have left England for Australia in Oct 1853, arriving in Melbourne on 16 Jan 1854 – see https://bit.ly/3ccQF4y.

The two busts are briefly mentioned together in a hagiographic and not always reliable c.1879 memoir of Summers by his pupil Margaret Thomas – see https://bit.ly/3o66zQI. And I have just found a very informative piece about him in the Weston-super-Mare** Gazette (attached), which suggests that in July 1850 Summers was modelling the busts of both Lawson and Dollond in Bath – the ‘gentleman in the Upper Crescent’ is certainly Henry Lawson, who lived at the address (now Landsdown Crescent) from 1841 until his death in 1855. I would guess that Dollond was staying with him at the time. It would be very valuable to see an image of the Lawson bust. Do you know anyone with, or have you yourself any contact at the Royal Hospital School whom we could ask to take some digital snaps?

[**Summers was raised (but not actually born) in Weston-super-Mare, and lived there with his parents until c.1844 when he moved up to London. He returned to the town several times in subsequent years, sculpting portraits of a variety of local worthies both during his training and after. The museum there seems to hold at least two, and probably four or more of these pre-Australia works (see attached). In 1978 they held an exhibition of Summers’ work: https://bit.ly/2Yjv9Dk.]

Osmund Bullock,

Sorry, that last link doesn't work. It seems that having successfully removed the glitch that meant links didn't work if followed immediately by a full-stop or curved bracket, AD's software is still defeated by square ones (as it is by commas). So try https://bit.ly/2Yjv9Dk.

Sorry about the wrong date of death for Dollond: Wiki wrongly states November 1852 but someone else can change that. Though a grandson of John Dollond, George was born Huggins, since son of Jon's daughter Susan and William Huggins (no known connection to the marine painter of that name: as for the animal-painting William Huggins I don't know). He only later changed his surname to Dollond by licence when going into partnership with his uncle Peter -John's direct business heir. His ODNB entry notes that never married and his heirs were his Dollond nephews. That at least explains why it was a great nephew (A.W. Dollond ) who gave the bust to the Royal Society in 1895, however it came into his hands to do so.

I can ask a contact at RHS about getting an image of the Summers bust of Lawson, if he's on site at present.

Jennie Maggs,

Hello, I have been alerted to this discussion via email. My 2x Gr Grandfather was the sculptor Charles Summers. I have been collecting photographs and information about his works for many years. I have a photo of the Henry Lawson Bust from the Royal Hospital School, so hope it helps. Also attached are the details which tells us this bust of Lawson is signed 'C Summers Sc. 1851'.
Charles Summers did not always sign his works.
I am following this discussion with interest and hopeful that there is enough evidence to link C Summers to the Dollond bust at the Royal Society.

Jacinto Regalado,

The drapery is fairly similar to that in the George Dollond bust.

It's a bit more than that. The round-cornered flat profile of the bottom is the same, including in apparent width, and probably the profile of the socle, though one can't see the shape of upper part in Jennie's image. One wouldn't expect them to be greatly different - it's a standard 'type' - but they may have been made to keep as a pair, rather than just apparently being modelled at the same time as each other at Bath in 1850 - and, if so, that would have been for Lawson rather than Dollond. If they turn out to be otherwise in the same proportion, especially height, it would strengthen the case for that intention. Dollond may well have been at Bath in 1850 - where Lawson then lived- for health reasons (as a spa town), but the coincidence of Summers doing both there at the same time suggests a 'friendship' commemoration link between the two sitters.

Osmund Bullock,

Welcome, Jennie. I was going to assure you, in our paused email exchange, that I'm no academic either, and that anyone with something useful to add can (and should) register and contribute to Art Detective; but not only have you joined up already, you've brought us a hugely helpful addition in the shape of Henry Lawson's bust - thank you! As Pieter says, to know its dimensions, or at least height, would be valuable - I don't suppose you have that noted in your records, do you? If not, perhaps Pieter's contact at the school might be able to help...

Jennie Maggs,

Thanks for the welcome Osmund. Sorry no sizes for the Lawson bust, however I have emailed my contact to see if they will measure the height and /or width.
In the meantime, I do have measurements for another of C Summers works. The draped figure of Joseph Edgar was carved c1852 so at a similar time to the Lawson bust. The drapery around the neck is carved high, with folds like the Dollond bust. It is not signed or dated. Measurements 78 x 46 x 29cm.
This bust was on display at the Weston museum in 2012, when my son took the photo while holidaying in the UK. It was still on display in 2017. Found in Tides of Change gallery, along with the other Summers busts of Thomas Tutton Knyfton, John Hugh Smyth-Pigott and James Bisdee.

Osmund Bullock,

Thank you, Marion. And you too, Jennie, for the photo of Summers' more or less contemporary bust of Joseph Edgar at Weston-super-Mare. You'll have seen the photo I posted earlier (26/01/2021 23:20) of their one of John Hugh Smyth-Piggott, with Edgar's behind him on the left, and presumably the two you mention of Tutton Knyfton and Bisdee in the background.

The North Herts portrait of Summers by Thomas is a good find - I don't think anyone knows about it...did you, Jennie? Summers is a significant figure in Australian art history, and I suspect it would be far better off cherished and likely conserved in an Australian institution, instead of languishing unappreciated, unseen and deteriorating further in a Hertfordshire storeroom...a long-term loan, maybe? They might also want to write a slightly different description - the present one is pleasingly long and detailed by Art UK standards, but sadly full of errors, misunderstandings and mis-copyings from various sources ( some of which are also wrong or misleading themselves, e.g. the Australian Dictionary of Biography https://bit.ly/3iWTeJk ).

Must leave this for the moment, though - my tax return deadlne looms...

Osmund Bullock,

Feeling slightly stupid, as the N. Herts portrait of Summers by Margaret Thomas is *of course* known. I would have realized that if I'd bothered to read the whole of the 2018 Nat Gallery of Victoria piece linked to by Pieter above (28/01/2021 17:39), instead of just the first, biographical section about Summers. The latter, incidentally, *is* almost wholly accurate, bar a couple of minor details.

Jennie Maggs,

Yes, this painting by Margaret Thomas gets referenced regularly as a portrait of Charles Summers. In 1929, Margaret Thomas donated several sculptures and bequeathed 27 oil paintings (which included the small portrait of Summers) to the “Letchworth Garden City Naturalist Society.” This collection became part of the Letchworth Museum & Art Gallery and subsequently North Hertfordshire Museum. I do believe the museum is aware of the interest in Margaret Thomas, so hopefully they will care for her collection appropriately.
In 2007 they held an exhibition of her paintings.
https://books.google.com.au/books/about/Oil_Paintings_by_Margaret_Thomas_1842_19.html?id=ZOkYAAAAYAAJ&redir_esc=y

As for what Summers is holding in the North Hertfordshire portrait, I believe it's most likely a thin flat chisel which he would have used for carving sculpture. A flat chisel does look somewhat like a painter's brush.

1 attachment

Art UK Sculpture Conference, 11th and 12th March, on Zoom

We have created a page on the Art UK website with more details about the forthcoming sculpture conference, along with links to the programme, speakers' and chairs' bios, and the Eventbrite page where people can register and be added to the mailing list. The page is here: https://bit.ly/2NsvkKe

You are warmly invited to attend. Please do share this with anyone who might be interested. Thank you!

Jacinto Regalado,

Marion, do let us know when the conference sessions become available online and how to access them, since some of us will not be able to attend the sessions as they happen.

Returning to the Dollond bust issue. If the photo above is one taken by Art UK (or even if not and by/for the Royal Society), I find it hard to believe that any maker inscription on it has passed unrecorded in such a holding. The paper label on the socle presumably identifies the sitter.

I agree with Osmund that the balance of probability lies with it being by Summers, not Garland from what we know of both (including that Summers did not always sign, though the apparent Lawson 'pair' is inscribed). So what's the next step assuming there is no maker inscription?

Kieran Owens,

The next step should be to confirm that there is no maker inscription, otherwise a great amount of time might be lost in fruitless conjecture.

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