A Bronze Portrait Bust of George, Prince of Wales by Sydney March, 1903
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Overall height: 56cm (22in)
Bronze. Portrait bust of George, Prince of Wales (later King George V, 1865-1936) wearing Vice-Admiral’s full dress uniform and the insignia of the Order of the Garter, the Royal Victorian Order and of the Order of St John of Jerusalem. Signed verso ‘Sydney March Sc.’ and ‘Elkington & Co., London 1903’. Height of bronze including integral socle: 43cm (17in), the whole mounted on an original (removable) ebonised base, bearing a silver presentation plaque to the Welsh winner of the King’s Prize, a prestigious and hotly contested rifle shooting competition held annually at Bisley Camp.
The King’s Prize was the premier competition for marksmen and attracted entries from across the British Empire. As the winner in 1903 Colour Sergeant W.T. Davies of the 3rd Glamorgan Battalion The Welsh Regiment received the traditional honour of being paraded around the camp in a shoulder-borne chair. He further received a rapturous reception on his return to Wales, being met and addressed by the Welsh-speaking Mayor and Mayoress of Cardiff and a large crowd thronging the city’s railway station.
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 1920‘s 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.