Portraits: British 19th C, Sculpture 33 Is Henry Garland the sculptor of this bust?

Topic: Artist

This, and another version of this bust are at Thirlestane https://bit.ly/3u6dUDE, are by Henry Garland (1831–1902) https://bit.ly/3t4Lys0 who exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1867 to 1878 from 5 King Street, Chelsea.

Martin Hopkinson, Entry reviewed by Art UK


Christopher Foley,

The prototype is the ex-Townley bust (now BM) of the mid-1st century AD which is now thought by some to depict the younger Antonia (Antonia Minor) (born 36 BC died 37 AD) the second daughter of Marc Anthony.
See: https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/G_1805-0703-79
The subject has been frequently identified also as Clytie, the Oceanid nymph: she was the daughter of the Titans Oceanus and Tethys. She was the lover of the sun god Helios.
There are endless full-scale reproductions in Parian ware of the mid-19th century (including one in my drawing room !)
Henry Garland is a very sensible attribution, but in the lack or absence of documentary evidence, and given the great popularity of the subject, proof will be hard to come by. It was the sort of highly commercial and mildly risque subject which would attract imitations by any number of competent Victorian sculptors.

Jacinto Regalado,

I found a number of female busts by H. Guirlandi (all evidently signed that way), thought to be a latter 19th century Italian sculptor. They are competent but not first-rate, and at least some are probably derived if not copied from works by others. I expect he was a minor figure who specialised in decorative busts, and I rather doubt he was Henry Garland (unless one proposes Garland had an alter ego as an Italian sculptor). See below (the last link requires scrolling down to the second bust discussed):







Jacinto Regalado,

Perhaps Marion, as she has done before, can contact Alfonso Panzetta, a leading expert on Italian 19th century sculptors, to see what he knows of an H. Guirlandi.

Mark Wilson,

Both the marble busts I could find under the name of Henry Garland - one of Queen Alexandra at the NPG


and an Undine:


show similar characteristics to the Guirlandi busts that Jacinto listed (and there have been many others on the market). They are competent but not first class; vaguely classical and attractive but rather expressionless. I wonder if indeed he had a second identity as 'H Guirlandi' 'Guirlande' is of course French for Garland and he may have just decided to make that look a bit more Italian.

Possibly as being more prestigious, but it might also to have been to avoid confusion with another contemporary Henry Garland (1834-1913) a prolific painter of genre scenes, portraits, and animals, particularly Highland cattle:


Maybe the the sculptor used another name professionally because he got sick of being asked for pictures of cows. An alias would explain why there seem to be so few works by someone who was a professional sculptor for all his life according to the Censuses. It may even have not been much of a secret, more like an actor altering their name to avoid a confusion with another.

Jacinto Regalado,

Mark, the Undine you found, which is signed H. Garland (as I expect the NPG bust is also signed), is almost identical to the bust at my fourth link above, an enlargement of which is below:


The main (minor) difference is in the necklace. However, my version, auctioned in 2014 by Duke's and also signed, must have been signed H. Guirlandi, as the listing indicates (at my link, be sure to click on "See item details" to the right of the bust's image).

I agree that, stylistically, H. Guirlandi may be Henry Garland, but the reason for a double identity, so to speak, remains to be elucidated. By the way, the 5 works he showed at the Royal Academy (1867-1878) were Miss C. Evans, Portrait of a Child, Bust of a Girl, Spring (a bust), and Euphrosyne (a bust).

Jacinto Regalado,

If Garland's Undine is the formerly "missing link" to Guirlandi, as it seems to be, we need more information on Garland. I suppose he may have found it more profitable from a marketing standpoint to assume an Italian identity, rather than compete as a British sculptor.

Kieran Owens,

The Italian word for a Garland is Ghirlanda and Ghirlandi are garlands.

The attached advertisement, for a bust on a pedestal of Queen Alexandra, by "the famous Italian sculptor, H. Guirlandi" appeared in the Bucks Herald of the 16th April 1921. Garland also crafted a bust of here, as referenced above.

And as a possible final proof that Henry Garland and H. Guirlandi are one and the same, many of the letters employed their signatures are identical, as shown in the attached composite.

Kieran Owens,

It's late..."a bust of here" should have been "a bust of her".

I had been a doubting Thomas, thinking that Garland and Guirlandi could not be one and the same. But I find Kieran's composite of the signatures compelling and have changed my mind.

It is likely indeed that the sculptor can be identified with the Henry Garland who was baptised in Exeter on 10 May 1829, the son of William Garland, a carpenter. Henry is listed in Exeter in the 1841 and 1851 censuses, in 1851 as a carver and gilder. In the 1861 census he can be found in London, which was the birthplace of his own son, William, age 5, listed in this census, showing that Henry was in London by 1856. The fact that his son was named William, like his father, confirms the link between the Henry Garland in Exeter in 1841 and 1851 and the individual of this name in London. In subsequent censuses his age is not always accurately given but would variously imply that he was born in 1829, 1830 or 1831. But the baptism record means that he was born in 1829 (or much less likely, before 1829). His age of 72 at death early in 1902 confirms 1829 as his year of birth.

Jacinto Regalado,

Another thing against H. Guirlandi being Italian is that Italian given names rarely start with an H.

Mark Wilson,

He's not even bothered to call himself Enrico has he? Like the odd Franco-Italian Guirlandi it's changing as little as possible. That's why I wondered if it was more to avoid duplication with the other Henry Garland than a genuine attempt to deceive. I suppose that could be due to a lack of formal education, though possibly, especially for sculptors from artisan backgrounds who weren't selling directly to customers, an Italian identity might add value.

The similarity you spotted between the two Undines can only be due to them being based on the same original model (clay?) and Kieran's point about the similarity of the lettering confirms it - you especially wouldn't such a close match from two people raised in different countries. Martin's thesis looks fully justified.

Jacinto Regalado,

I doubt the assumed name had anything to do with the other Henry Garland, who operated in a different field. I expect this was largely a way or at least an attempt to make his work more marketable, and the seemingly disproportionate number of Guirlandi busts relative to Garland ones suggests the ploy worked well enough.

Kieran Owens,

He died at 29, Park Walk, Chelsea, and his wife Harriet was his administrator.

Martin Hopkinson,

Have we any evidence at all that our Henry Garland worked in wood?

Kieran Owens,

The 1901 UK Census shows that the Henry Garland who died at 29, Park Walk was a wood carver, a "worker", aged 60 (sic), and was born in Exeter, Devon. According to this entry, he was born in 1841, and not 1829, although his death registration record gives his age as 72, as previously suggested. This is surely the same man, just lying about his age.

Martin Hopkinson,

my post 13.50 was in response to Kieran's of 13.50 - somehow confusingly recorded in the wrong order

Kieran Owens,

Martin, I'm not sure if your question was answered in the correct sequence but Garland gave his occupation in the 1901 Census as "Wood Carver".

Jacinto Regalado,

It appears that Garland, while suited to decorative work, did not have the requisite talents for portraiture. His bust of Alexandra was reasonably successful because she had a kind of ideal face not too far removed from his usual types, but most sitters (especially older men) would not have fit that approach.

While there is little chance of demonstrating it, Garland's ploy of using an Italianate alias may have been suggested to him if, for example, they were being made on a 'production-line' basis for the decorative trade, perhaps including sale in high-end early department stores (where one would also have found similar items in Parian ware).

Kieran Owens,

The usefulness or otherwise of speculative value judgements aside, has the original question, as to whether this bust is by Henry Garland, been satisfactorily answered? If so, and so as to avoid having two confusing records for the one artist, perhaps his name in the Art UK database could be recorded as:

Henry Garland (aka H. Guirlandi) (1829 - 1902)

I think Kieran is right. The discussion has been running less than a week. If there are no further revelations in the next few days we should consider recommending closure on the grounds that the question has been answered.

Jacinto Regalado,

Yes, Pieter, that may have been the case. I expect there was some intermediary between the sculptor and the buyers of his works, who would of course receive monetary compensation for it and would naturally wish to make the merchandise as marketable as possible.

Osmund Bullock,

No great revelations, but a few extra life details.

Henry Garland and his wife-to-be Harriet Harris were already living in London (at Molyneux Street in Marylebone) when they married at St Mary's, Bryanston Sq on 31st Dec 1853; Henry was already described as a sculptor...or rather "sculpturer" (see attached). Harriet was born in 1835, bap Jun 21st at Parkham in N Devon, which is getting on for 50 miles from Exeter. She and her family are in Parkham in the 1841 Census, but I can't find her anywhere in the 1851...so whether she and Henry met in London or Devon is anyone's guess. The marriage entry gives his age as 29 - perhaps misheard from 25 - hers as 19 (she was actually still 18). His signature in the register is not only literate but remarkably sophisticated in appearance.

Their eldest child William was born in Aug 1855 & baptised later the same month at Christ Church, Albany St, just round the corner from where they were by then living in William (now Netley) Street, Regent's Park. Their next, Jane, was born at Chelsea in Apr 1858, but not baptised till more than 5 years later (attached) - the length of time and the wording of the following entry relating to her brother perhaps suggest a crisis of faith in the interim. The final daughter Edith was born in Feb 1860 and christened the following Nov, both again at Chelsea.

I rather doubt Henry deliberately lied about his age (60 instead of 71) on the 1901 Census - in my experience of this period, people that alter their ages after the age of 70 usually do so upwards, especially men. And of course his wife Harriet knew how old he was, so why lie? Her age was also reduced substantially (56 instead of 65), and it is more likely that a neighbour gave the information to the enumerator and had to guess - especially as Harriet's place of birth was also wrongly given as Exeter, like her husband. I suppose it's also possible that Henry - who was to die 11 months later - was becoming demented and confused.

Updated biographical summary attached. While it has to be in the realm of speculation, I can't see Garland sustaining his Italian 'alter ego' in any circumstance where he had a direct contact with a commissioning private client: he is likely to have kept at least some of a Devon accent all his life. The Italian imposition may also have been someone else's 'marketing' idea, rather than his own - despite the dud spelling.

1 attachment

Please support your comments with evidence or arguments.

jpg, png, pdf, doc, xls (max 6MB)
Drop your files here
Attach a file Start uploading

Sign in

By signing in you agree to the Terms & Conditions, which includes our use of cookies.