Enquire

To enquire about this item please enter your details below and we will contact you shortly.

(Your details will not be shared with any third parties)

Tick the box below if you would like to receive the Armoury of St James's Bulletin - a quarterly e-newsletter that showcases an exclusive selection of the latest military antiques offered at our premises in Piccadilly Arcade.

Please note that your details are used solely for dealing with your enquiry and will not be sold or passed on to any third parties.

Relief of Kimberely - General Sir John French, 1900
Hover over image to zoom, click to expand.

Relief of Kimberely - General Sir John French, 1900

Measurements: Height: 22.5cm (8.8in)

£1750

Enquire

Bronze. A standing figure of the Anglo-Boer War cavalry commander General Sir John French, modelled by Sydney March for the art founders Elkington & Co., Ltd. Titled ‘KIMBERLEY’ and signed ‘ Sydney March Sc / London Sep. 1900’ on the integral bronze base.

Sir John Denton Pinkstone French, 1st Earl of Ypres, (1857-1925) began his career as a midshipman in the Royal Navy before transferring to the 8th (King’s Royal Irish) Hussars in 1874. French took part in the Sudan expedition, 1884-1885, and was in command of the 1st Cavalry Brigade on the outbreak of the Boer War, 1899-1902, during which he commanded troops in the relief of Kimberley, where Cecil Rhodes was besieged. He featured prominently in the subsequent Battle of Paardeburg. He was Commander-in-Chief for Aldershot Command, 1901-1907, after which he was promoted to full general and made Inspector-General of the Army, 1907-1912. From March 1912 to April 1914, he served as Chief of the Imperial; General Staff but resigned following the Curragh Mutiny and was made again Inspector-General of the Army. In August 1914 he was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the British Expeditionary Force (B.E.F.). A man of hot temper, he disagreed with Lord Kitchener over sending the B.E.F. to Amiens but was forced to re-organise his thinking after the battles at Mons and Le Cateau before successfully directing the counter-offensive at the First Battle of the Marne. French remained in command in France as the major trenching began and the following year oversaw fighting at Neuve Chapelle and in the Ypres Salient. After the failures at Aubers Ridge and Loos, British offensive operations were almost halted. In December 1915, French was succeeded by General Sir Douglas Haig.

Sydney March (1876-1968) was the second of nine children, eight of whom became artists. Three of the March family became sculptors, Sydney, Elsie (1884-1974), and Vernon. The other five artists were Edward (1873-1941), Percival (b.1878), Frederick (b.1881), Dudley (1881-1962), and Walter (b.1889). The ninth sibling was a sister, Eva. Originally from Yorkshire the March family moved to London around the turn of the century when Sydney was enrolled at the Royal Academy Schools and where he was awarded the first prize medal for a model of a statue or group. Between 1906 and 1932, he exhibited thirteen times at the R.A., primarily portrait busts, statuettes, and equestrian statues. The March family established their own sculpture studio at Goddendene, Kent, in 1901. Sydney also worked with the art founders Elkington, and was responsible for royal portraits, including Queen Victoria, Queen Alexandra and George V, and for producing figures, busts and statues of leading figures of the day.  In the early 1920s the March studio was honoured with a visit by members of the Royal Family. Sydney’s public works include statues of Colonel 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, Sir John French. March also executed a number of war memorials including Bromley Parish Church (1921) and the United Empire Loyalists Memorial (Hamilton, Ontario, 1929). Following the death of Vernon March in 1930, Sydney and his siblings completed the Canadian National War Memorial at Ottawa.

Enquire