F. V. Blundstone (1882-1951)

Typical feminine figure by F. V. Blundstone.

Ferdinand Victor Blundstone was born in Switzerland, of English and French descent, and studied art in the north of England. Through drawings made at the zoo in Manchester, he came to the attention of the animal painter and etcher Herbert Dicksee, who encouraged him in his art. He settled in London, studying at the South London Technical Art School, and then at the Academy, winning a travelling scholarship which allowed him to visit the lands of classical antiquity. Back in London, he worked for Gilbert Bayes at the John Cass school of art.

His work is most familiar through the Plimsoll Monument on the Victoria Embankment, and also in London is his much bigger but much less well-known War Memorial in the courtyard of Waterhouse’s Prudential building, High Holborn. Both of these show the typical Blundstone girl, an art nouveau creature, full-figured yet slender of shoulder and a touch gaunt of face, to emphasise the bony forms underneath. He also made other war memorials, including at Folkestone and at Stalybridge, and the odd ideal and imaginary subjects, including a ‘gnome monument’ in Bowring Park, Newfoundland, Canada, and a ‘Wendy’ (from Peter Pan), in King Edward Park, Hawera, New Zealand. An early bust of W. Heginbottom by Blundstone is apparently at the Free Library, Ashton Under Lyme. His later work seems to have been mostly garden statues, but I have not seen any of these.

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