George J Frampton (1860-1928)

Frampton in 1902

The symbolist sculptor George Frampton was born in London, and after working in an architect's office, was apprenticed to an architectural stone carver. He then attended the modelling class at South London Technical Art School under the teacher and architectural sculptor W. S. Frith, and in 1881 entered the Royal Academy Schools. He won a travelling scholarship and in 1887 went to Paris, to study under Mercie. He returned to London in 1889, and took a position teaching sculpture at the Slade in 1893.

Frampton's range was wide. He showed symbolist-style ideal figures early on, owing something to Alfred Gilbert and something to later Pre-Raphaelitism as espoused by Burne-Jones. As befitted his training, he devoted much effort to architectural sculpture. He also had an involvement with decorative work - jewellery, enamelling, medals and decoration for the house, and he exhibited with the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society from 1893, often showing a type of plaster relief which he had evolved with Anning Bell. As well, he produced many portrait busts and memorial statues. His wife, Christabel, was a painter.

An example of his symbolist ideal sculptures is Lamia (1900) in a plaster version in Birmingham, sometimes shown in Symbolist and Art Nouveau exhibitions. His portrait statues include the Queen Victoria monument in Leeds (now on Woodhouse Moor), Dame Alice Owen in Potters Bar, three, including Rathbone, in St John's Gardens, Liverpool and in London, the W. S Gilbert monument and Walter Besant on Embankment (the first of these is pictured on that page), and his very late (1920) Edith Cavell in St Martins Place (see the note on Charing Cross Road). And in Kensington Gardens, rather defying classification, is his Peter Pan Monument. Among his architectural works in London are the spandrel figures over the entrance to the Victoria and Albert Museum, spandrel reliefs for Electra House, Moorgate (now owned by a University), and the bronze figures and stone carvings for Lloyds Registry in Fenchurch Street. Outside London, we must also mention the figures he made for Glasgow City Art Gallery. Examples of portrait busts are at Peterborough. A rather good Boer War Memorial is at Salford.

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