F. Derwent Wood RA (1871-1926)

A Britannia by Derwent Wood.

The sculptor Derwent Wood was born in Keswick, Cumbria, and educated abroad. He returned to England in 1887, working as a modeller in potteries and foundries, combined with studying sculpture, first under Lanteri at South Kensington, then at the Slade as an assistant to Legros. He then worked for Thomas Brock, and attended the Royal Academy Schools (from 1894). Three years or so later, he took up a position at Glasgow School of Art. After the First World War, he became Professor of Sculpture at the Royal Academy.

Derwent Wood's work includes many allegorical nudes and other figure subjects, including some notable architectural sculpture. He also produced a large number of portrait busts. Around the turn of the century, his work was much admired in the arts and crafts magazine, The Studio.

Examples of his exterior architectural sculpture include allegorical figures on the roof of the Kelvingrove Art Gallery, Glasgow, and also in that city, figures for the Caledonia Low Level Station and the British Linen Bank building on Govan Road. In London, by Finsbury Circus is Britannic House, with stone figures on the corners by Derwent Wood. Allegorical nudes by Derwent Wood may be seen for example in Leeds (a Bacchante), Bristol (Truth, and also Daedelus equipping Icarus), the Lady Lever Art Gallery in Liverpool (Psyche), and out of doors in London, the Atalanta in Chelsea Embankment Gardens, and the figure of David for the Machine Guns Corps Memorial, Hyde Park Corner. Among his portrait statues, we may mention a figure of William Pitt for the Houses of Parliament, Titus Salt for Saltaire, Charles Henry Wilson for Hull, and General Wolfe for Westerham, in Kent.

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