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A Bronze Model of a British Infantryman by Albert Toft
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A Bronze Model of a British Infantryman by Albert Toft

Signed and dated 1920

Measurements: Height overall: 47cm (18.5”)

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The present model was used for the Royal Fusiliers Memorial at Holborn, London (1924) and for the dominant figure in the war memorial at Oldham (1922).

A leading member of the New Sculpture Movement, Albert Toft (1862-1949) had begun to establish a reputation as an artist in the 1880s.  Born on the outskirts of Birmingham in 1862 he had initially served an apprenticeship in the ceramics industry around Stoke.  His father was the principal modeller at the Birmingham silversmiths, Elkington and Co. and then later at Wedgwood and it was here that Toft began his employment.  At the same time he attended evening classes at art schools in Hanley and Newcastle-under-Lyme.

After winning a scholarship in 1881 Toft moved to London where, at the National Art Training School, he studied modelling under Edouard Lanteri.  Known for both his portrait sculpture and his ideal nudes, regularly exhibited from 1885 onwards at the Royal Academy, Toft soon received commissions for public monuments.  These included memorials to Queen Victoria at Leamington Spa, Nottingham and South Shields and to Edward VII, also at Leamington.  Boer War memorials were also produced, most notably for the Welsh National Memorial in Cardiff but additionally at Ipswich and Birmingham.

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