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Hero of Mafeking, Major General R.S.S. Baden Powell, 1900
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Hero of Mafeking, Major General R.S.S. Baden Powell, 1900

Measurements: Height: 29cm (11in)



A standing bronze figure by Sydney March (1875-1968) for the art founders Elkington & Co., Ltd, on an integral bronze base inscribed ‘Mafeking 1900’

The 217 day Defence of Mafeking against a numerically superior Boer force during the South African War turned Baden-Powell from an obscure cavalry colonel into a national hero. The Relief of Mafeking established Baden-Powell as a celebrity in Britain, and thus when he started the Scout Movement a few years later, his fame contributed to its rapid initial growth.

Sydney March was born in Yorkshire in 1875, the second of six brothers who with their sister, set up a sculpture studio at Goddendene, Kent, in 1901. Each sibling brought their specialty to a unique private foundry; Walter (1888-1954) supervised technicalities of casting and carving, Dudley (1885-1962) finished off the patination on bronzes, while Sydney, Vernon (1891-1930) and Elsie (1883-1974) were the main sculptors. When young, Sydney enjoyed both commercial success and critical acclaim. In collaboration with the art founders Elkington, he was also responsible for royal portraits, including George V, and producing figures, busts and statuettes of other leading men of the day.  His statues include Colonel Samuel Bourne Bevington (Tooley Street, London Bridge, 1911) and Lord Kitchener (Calcutta, 1914; Khartoum, 1921, removed to Royal School of Military Engineering, Chatham, 1958). Among his portrait busts were Cecil Rhodes and Edward VII (National Portrait Gallery, 1901). March also executed a number of war memorials including Bromley Parish Church (1921) and the United Empire Loyalists Memorial (Hamilton, Ontario, 1929). His younger brother Vernon (1891-1930) was also a sculptor and is remembered for the Canadian National War Memorial (Ottawa, 1939).