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The 32nd Viceroy of India -  The Marquess of Willingdon Maquette, 1936
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The 32nd Viceroy of India - The Marquess of Willingdon Maquette, 1936

Measurements: Height: 45cm (17.75in) x 34cm (13.25in)

£3300

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Plaster maquette for the over life size white marble statue formerly at New Delhi of the Earl of Willingdon, Viceroy of India (1931-36) attributed to Sir William Reid Dick.

This working model of a full scale public work intended for the capital of British India is believed to have been exhibited at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 1936. Time Magazine of 18 May 1936 refers: ‘This year's Hanging Committee, who tried hard to remain anonymous, were Dame Laura Knight's husband, Professor Harold Knight, who accepted three of his own portraits, including one of Laurence Olivier as Romeo; Sculptor Sir William Reid Dick, who accepted a model of his own giant statue of the Earl of Willingdon; Alfred J. Munnings, who accepted his own portrait of the Master of the Essex Union and five others. Their only pay for their three-month job was a daily lunch at Burlington House. Academicians were permitted to submit six pictures, outsiders three.’  

Sir William Reid Dick, K.C.V.O., R.A. (1879-1961) studied at the Glasgow School of Art until 1907, and the City and Guilds School, Kennington. He joined a Royal Army Medical Corps field ambulance unit in September 1914, but later saw active service in the Royal Engineers in France and Palestine during for the  First World War. He was admitted an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1921 and was elected a Royal Academician in 1928. He served as president of the Royal Society of British Sculptors from 1933-1938, and was knighted by George V in 1935. At this time he completed his giant statue of Lord Willingdon, that was the gift of the Ruling Princes of India to commemorate Willingdon’s viceroyalty. Sited near the Secretariat building that lay at the heart of Sir Edwin Lutyens’s newly designed imperial administrative district, New Delhi, it was unveiled in November 1935 and at Willingdon’s request without ceremony. It stood for a little over a decade in close proximity to a statue of Willingdon’s predecessor Lord Irwin (later Lord Hailfax). Following Indian Independence in 1947 the statues of Willingdon, Irwin and George V were removed with others to Coronation Park, formerly the site of the Imperial Assemblage of 1877 and subsequent coronation durbars.

From 1938 Reid Dick held the appointment of Sculptor in Ordinary for Scotland, and as such became a member of the Royal Household in Scotland. As a sculptor of portrait statuary Reid Dick enjoyed the confidence of the establishment and the approval of the wider public during his lifetime. Other major works by Reid Dick include panels and carvings for the Lord Kitchener Memorial in St. Paul's Cathedral (1925); the memorial to the missing at the Menin Gate, Ypres (1927); the Royal Air Force Monument eagle on Victoria Embankment; the Regent's Park Boy with Frog fountain (1936); George V (1938) outside the House of Lords; a bronze bust of Princess Elizabeth (1946) in the Royal Collection: and the imposing British memorial bronze statue of F.D.R. in Grosvenor Square (1946); Sir William Reid Dick's archives are held by the Tate Gallery and he is buried in St. Paul's.  

Sir George Freeman-Thomas, 1st Marquess of Willingdon, 13th Governor of General of Canada and 32nd Viceroy of India (1866-1941), was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he made a name for himself as cricketer and player of ball games of all kinds. He assumed the surname Freeman-Thomas by Royal Licence in 1892, and was a Liberal Member of Parliament between 1900-1910. In the latter year he was raised to the peerage as a Baron, and promoted to Viscount in 1924, and Earl in 1931. Affable and effortlessly talented, he was appointed Viceroy of India in the same year. The major achievements of his period of office were persuading the Indian National Congress to join the second Round Table Conference, thereby undermining the second Civil Disobedience Movement; helping to shape the Government of India Bill (1935); and implementing the India Act of 1935. Just before the first election held under that Act his tenure ran out and it was his successor Lord Linlithgow who inaugurated the elective system that Willingdon had devised.

The Willingdon Club in Bombay was established with membership open to both Indians and British after he was denied entry, although he was Viceroy, with Indian friends to the Royal Bombay Yacth Club. The Willingdon Club continues to flourish today. He was raised in the peerage to Marquess of Willingdon in 1936, the last non-royal marquessate created in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. During his tenure as Governor General of Canada he donated the Willingdon Cup to the Royal Canadian Golf Association which has been contested annually since that year. Lord Willingdon died in 1941, and was succeeded by his younger son Inigo, Viscount Ratendone, his elder son, Lieutenant the Hon. Gerard Freeman-Thomas, having been killed in action during the First World War whilst serving with the Coldstream Guards. Lord and Lady Willingdon are buried in the nave of Westminster Abbey.
 

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