Harry Bates ARA (1850-1899)

Truth as Cleopatra.

The sculptor Harry Bates was born in Stevenage, Hertfordshire. He became an architect's clerk, and from 1869 worked as a stone carver and architectural decorator. He became a student at the Lambeth School of Art, and briefly studied modelling under Jules Dalou during the latter's stay in London, before entering the RA Schools in 1881. There, he won a travelling scholarship, and chose to go to France where he renewed his acquaintance with Dalou and also met Rodin, who influenced his style of working.

He produced a series of relief panels on classical themes in the late 1880s: The Odyssey, Aneas, Homer and Psyche. He achieved great success with his Hounds in Leash in 1892, on the strength of which he was elected ARA in that year. Also in that year he produced his most beautiful statue, Pandora, bought under the terms of the Chantrey Bequest. It was for a long time on display at the Tate Gallery, but is rarely on show. However, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Great Swan Alley off Moorgate, in the City of London, has stone corbels by Bates, as well as friezes and other sculpture by Thornycroft and Stevenson. The building dates from 1890-93.

Bates's oeuvre does not seem to be large, partly because of his late start and short life. He also devoted considerable time to one large equestrian statue of Lord Roberts for Calcutta, finished in 1896, and was working on a companion statue of Lord Landsdowne through until his death. Versions of the Lord Roberts statue were subsequently put up in Glasgow and London (Horseguards Parade).

Hounds in Leash is at Manchester, and a plaster version exists in the Tate Gallery collection. Terra cotta figures of Queen Victoria and attendants are on the exterior of the Birmingham Law Courts.

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