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A George V Equestrian Bronze Figure of a Mounted Hussar, 1911

Bronze. Figure of a hussar officer modelled in a greatcoat and busby mounted on a charger equipped with lambskin saddle cloth. Signed and dated ‘G. Halliday 1911’. Cast by Elkington & Co. Mounted on a stepped ebonised base. Height of bronze: 36cm (14in).

The subject of the present bronze is James Baldwin, T.D., J.P. (1852-1922) of Groveley Hall, Northfield, Worcestershire, a Major Queen’s Own Worcestershire Hussars, a landowner and the proprietor of a Midlands paper mill. Described as a man of great energy - a characteristic that is skilfully captured by Halliday - Baldwin was also a noted breeder of prize winning cattle and horses. A Unionist and a Unitarian, he belonged to the liberal and non-conformist traditions that charactized many of Birmingham’s most successful manufacturing families and divided them from the Conservative squirearchy and aristocracy of the neighbouring counties that traditionally officered the yeomanry.

Baldwin was commissioned into the Worcestershire Hussars in 1884 and commanded ‘C’ Squadron in the 1890s. He competed successfully in regimental equestrian events. In 1900 he volunteered for active service with the Imperial Yeomanry in South Africa and mobilised with 135 officers and men under the command of the Earl of Dudley at a parade where the Countess of Dudley distributed Worcestershire pear blossom to the yeomen for good luck. He served in the yeomanry for a total of twenty-six years before resigning commission in 1910, whence the present bronze was commissioned from the local firm of art founders Elkington & Co. As a distinction Baldwin was permitted to retain his rank and the right to wear the prescribed uniform (London Gazette 9.8.1910). He was re-employed during the First World War and was active in the county Territorial Army Association.  A stained glass window, the Baldwin window, in Worcester Cathedral is dedicated to his memory. It contains the insignia of the Worcestershire Hussars and the Worcestershire Regiment over three figures, representing the ‘The Passage of the Soul from Earthly to Heavenly Life’.

Elkington & Co. was founded by George Richards Elkington who in 1840 perfected the technique of electroplating. The business traded under the name Elkington & Co. from 1861. G R Elkington died in 1865 after which his four sons continued the firm. The output of the firm included all types of silver and electroplate, cast bronze and electroform art works. They employed many talented  artists to design for them aside from Halliday. These included Benjamin Schlick, Pierre-Emile Jeannest, Leonard Morel-Ladeuil, Auguste Adolphe Willms, Edward Welby Pugin, Sydney March and Christopher Dresser.

The sculptor George Halliday (fl.1888-1912) was born in Scotland and worked as a medallist, and chaser in Sheffield. He produced figures for Elkington & Co., including a regimental commission for the Seaforth Highlanders in the form of a figure of the 1st Baron Seaforth (1754-1815) Chief of the Mackenzie Clan. His other designs included military, historical and equestrian subjects in bronze and silver.
 

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