Mining group, Cardiff, by Albert Hodge
The sculptor Albert Hodge is responsible for a variety of architectural sculpture in London, and his work may also be found in Cardiff and Glasgow. His work appears around the turn of the century, and his output continues up to his unfortunately early death. He was born on the Isle of Islay, trained as an architect, found a penchant in working on architectural details, and this led to him becoming a sculptor.
His work is solid, monumental, with lots of detail. His figures tend to the very muscular, with the women buxom. Even when Hodge (rarely) aims for feminine pulchritude, he accentuates the muscles of the arms, legs and neck. Drapes, where present, are ofen stretched, flying, or if hanging, highly undercut for effects of light and shade, and to emphasise the 3D quality of his work..
In London, his largest pieces are those for the former Port of London Authority, no. 10 Trinity Square, near the Tower of London, a massive Edwardian pile with a blocky tower. Very high up and central above the oversized Corinthian portico is a giant statue of Neptune or Father Thames, a biblical nude figure with trident. To left and right, figure groups of Produce and Exportation, rather difficult to view from ground level. Sculpted by Hodge, these were executed by Charles Doman from 1912-1922.
On the front of 99 Aldwych, good figural sculpture –male and female nudes in stone on the pediment, draped bronze figures recessed at first floor level, and putti over the side. I am not sure these are all by Hodge.
Hodge’s most sensitive work is the pair of stone allegorical figures for 4 Millbank, opposite Victoria Tower Gardens by the Houses of Parliament. 5 minutes away, in Great George Street, Hodge was apparently also the creator of the putti and coat of arms over the main entrance of the Institute of Civil Engineers, a slight work. And other examples of his modelling of the infant body are in Regent's Park (ugly things noted but not pictured on the walk there.)
On the front of the V&A towards Exhibition Road, Hodge is responsible for two of the portrait statues, to Wedgewood and Chippendale.
In Cardiff, Hodge has three enormous groups in the Cathays Park precinct. Two are in front of the Cardiff Mid-Glamorgan County Hall, and represent Mining and Navigation. The overall effect is excellent, but the individual parts lack somewhat – the sense of effort by the figures is clear, and the Greek drapery is good, but the expressions on the faces vary from the contorted to the bland. The third group is one of those on Cardiff City Hall itself, an impossibly muscular Britannia with seahorses and soldiers left and right, at the rear.
In Glasgow, Hodge’s are the crouching nude figures on the Caldedonian Chambers, 75-93 Union Street, dating from 1903, and a Queen Victoria for the Glasgow Royal (Victoria) Infirmary. Other works in the city include allegorical sculpture for the Clydeport Building, 16 Robertson Street, and angels etc for 752 Argyle Street.
His only other outdoor statue I am aware of is the Captain Scott Memorial, Mount Wise, Devonport, with a big Valkyrie-like angel behind the subject, the Robert Burns memorial behind Dumbarton Road in Stirling (thank you to Amy Waugh for noting this one), and he also carved relief panels for the town of Hull, which I have not seen. Abroad, he produced pediment sculpture for the Parliament Buildings in Winnipeg, Canada.
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