Edward Onslow Ford - Encyclopedia

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EDWARD ONSLOW FORD (1852-1902), English sculptor, was born in London. He received some education as a painter in Antwerp and as a sculptor in Munich under Professor Wag- 'Miller, but was mainly self-taught. His first contribution to the Royal Academy, in 1875, was a bust of his wife, and in portraiture he may be said to have achieved his greatest success. His busts are always extremely refined and show his sitters at their best. Those (in bronze) of his fellow-artists Arthur Hacker (1894), Briton Riviere and Sir W. Q. Orchardson (1895), Sir L. Alma Tadema (1896), Sir Hubert von Herkomer and Sir John Millais (1897), and of A. J. Balfour and all striking likenesses, and are equalled by that in marble of Sir Frederick Bramwell (for the Royal Institution) and by many more. He gained the open competition for the statue of Sir Rowland Hill, erected in 1882 outside the Royal Exchange, and followed it in 1883 with "Henry Irving as Hamlet," now in the Guildhall art gallery. This seated statue, good as it is, was soon surpassed by those of Dr Dale (1898, in the city museum, Birmingham) and Professor Huxley (1900), but the colossal memorial statue of Queen Victoria (1901), for Manchester, was less successful. The standing statue of W. E. Gladstone (1894, for the City Liberal Club, London) is to be regarded as one of Ford's better portrait works. The colossal "General Charles Gordon," eamel-mounted, for Chatham, "Lord Strathnairn," an equestrian group for Knightsbridge, and the "Maharajah of Mysore" (1900) comprise his larger works of the kind. A beautiful nude recumbent statue of Shelley (1892) upon a cleverly-designed base, which is not quite impeccable from the point of view of artistic taste, is at University College, Oxford, and a simplified version was presented by him to be set up on the shore of Viareggio, where the poet's body was washed up. Ford's ideal work has great charm and daintiness; his statue "Folly" (1886) was bought by the trustees of the Chantrey Fund, and was followed by other statues or statuettes of a similar order: "Peace" (1890), which secured his election as an associate of the Royal Academy, "Echo" (1895), on which he was elected full member, "The Egyptian Singer" (1889), "Applause" (1893), "Glory to the Dead" (1901) and "Snowdrift" (1902). Ford's influence on the younger generation of sculptors was considerable and of good effect. His charming disposition rendered him extremely popular, and when he died a monument was erected to his memory (C. Lucchesi, sculptor, J. W. Simpson, architect) in St John's Wood, near to where he dwelt.

See Sculpture; also M. H. Spielmann, British Sculpture and Sculptors of To-day (London, 1901).

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