Queen Victoria Seated Figure, 1904
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Overall: 38cm (15.2in)
Cast bronze seated figure of Queen Victoria. Signed and dated ‘Sydney March Sc / Elkington & Co. Ltd. Copyright. London 1904’. Complete with original ebonized trapezoidal base. Height of bronze: 27.5cm (11in).
Sydney March (1876–1968) was born in Hull the second of nine children, eight of whom became artists; Edward (1873-1941), Percival (b.1878), Frederick (b.1881), Dudley (1881-1962), Elsie (1884-1974), Walter (b.1889) and Vernon (1891-1930). Sydney trained in Hull under William Day Keyworth who committed suicide by shooting himself in the head in 1902. The March family moved en bloc to Battersea sometime before 1901. Sydney continued his studies at Royal College of Art and the Royal Academy Schools where he was awarded the first prize medal for a model of a statue or group. One of his earliest commissions came directly from King Edward VII who commissioned a bust in marble, now displayed in St George’s Hall, Windsor Castle. By 1901 Sydney was in the employ of the silversmiths and bronze art founders Elkington for whom he produced his series of Boer commanders and a bust of the imperialist Cecil Rhodes from life. Elkington also produced his figures of Queen Victoria and Prince Edward (later the Duke of Windsor) and his coronation busts of Edward VII and Queen Alexandra in bronze. Between 1906 and 1932, he exhibited thirteen times at the Royal Academy, primarily portrait busts, statuettes, and equestrian statues. In 1904 he produced a South African War memorial to the fallen of the Royal Irish Fusiliers for Omagh, County Tyrone. The March siblings established their own sculpture studio in the grounds of Goddendene, a 17-room house at Farnborough, Kent, in 1901. They were subsequently visited there by George V and Queen Mary in the 1920s. Sydney’s public works include a Coronation bust of George V for Cardiff Coal Exchange, statues of Colonel Bevington (Tooley Street, London Bridge, 1911) and an equestrian statue of Lord Kitchener cast from cannon sent from India to Goddendene, paid for by public subscription, shipped and erected at Khartoum in 1914 and at Calcutta in 1907, before being removed to Royal School of Military Engineering, Chatham in 1958. During the First World War Sydney worked at a munitions job at a Vickers aviation factory in Kent. He executed a number of First World War memorials including Bromley Parish Church (1921), Lewes, East Sussex, the Diamond War Memorial, Derry (1925), 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.