Henry Charles Fehr (1867-1940)

War Memorial in Leeds, by H. C. Fehr

The sculptor H. C. Fehr was born in Forest Hill, in north-east London. He attended the RA Schools from 1885, and from 1889-93 was studio assistant to the sculptor Thomas Brock. During this time he produced his important work Perseus Rescuing Andromeda (1893), bought by the Chantrey Bequest in the following year. Fehr specialised in monuments and architectural sculpture, and ideal allegorical nudes, with titles such as Aphrodite, Spirit of the Waves, Morning and so on. He also designed coloured bas reliefs for interior decoration.

Stylistically, Fehr is close to the New Sculpture movement, and in particular his girls tend to an ideal art nouveau style, with very beautiful faces, and rich in symbolism. In clothing he tends to the Gothic, the decorative, and detail in ornament, and for his knights, spiky armour in the fashion of Alfred Gilbert.

Outdoor statuary by Fehr includes James Watt (1898), J. Harrison (1903) and War Memorials in Leeds (see the walk there) and in Colchester, and a Queen Victoria (1903) in the eponymous Square in Hull. Examples of Fehr's bas reliefs, showing the Wars of the Roses, are in the County Hall, Wakefield (in the ante chamber next to the Council chamber). In London Fehr's Perseus Rescuing Andromeda stands outdoors, on the right hand balcony of the Tate Gallery, facing the Clore Wing. His also is the beautiful and extensive sculptural work on the Middlesex Guildhall, Parliament Square and the four terra cotta Queens adorning the exterior of the Russell Hotel, Bloomsbury Square. His connection with north-east London makes it rather satisfying to find that he sculpted the bust of William Morris in the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow.

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