Arthur George Walker RA (1861-1939)

The sculptor A. G. Walker is perhaps most familiar from his statue of Florence Nightingale in Waterloo Place, London. . In his early years he was a painter as well as a sculptor, and exhibited paintings and sculpture at the Royal Academy from 1884 through till 1937, more than 80 works in all. He also worked as an illustrator until at least 1907. His early sculptural work included some interesting mythological figures, and some idyllic ones including the popular ‘The Thorn’, a graceful bending nude, but his later work seems to have been mostly portrait busts and memorials for churches. He was based in London, but had an address in Dorset after 1933.

In London, as well as the Florence Nightingale already mentioned, work by Walker includes another monument to her in St Pauls, the curious double-portrait of Dame Louisa Aldrich-Blake in Tavistock Square, the of Emmeline Pankhurst memorial in Victoria Tower Gardens by the Houses of Parliament, a figure of Christ on a war memorial in Limehouse Churchyard, which I have not seen, and the figures of Morris and Payne for the front of the V&A. In Stamford Hill is the remarkable former Church of the Agapemone, which bears remarkable exterior sculpture winged bulls and lions by Walker.

Elsewhere, Walker has World War I memorials in Derby (outside the Guildhall, a particularly charming mother and child), in Wolverhampton (Heath Town Park) and in Sevenoaks, Kent. He also has versions of the Virgin and Child in Llandaff Cathedral and Wells Cathedral. In Babbacombe is a bronze of Lady Mount-Temple, and apparently in Bristol is an equestrian John Wesley by Walker, though I have not seen it.

Walker’s book illustrations are for children’s books of mythology, including Stories from the Faerie Queen (1897) and other works by Mary Macleod and other authors. Harmless and jolly rather than anything substantial.

A. G. Walker, figures from the Church of the Agapemone

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