Maquette for the Menin Gate Lion, 1927
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Overall: 21cm (8.5in) x 32cm (12in) x 11cm (4.5in)
Patinated bronze. Maquette for the recumbent lion on the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing at Ypres. Signed ‘Ypres / Reid Dick / 1927’ on the integral bronze base. Measurements include slate plinth.
The Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing in Ypres, Belgium was begun in 1922. It was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield with William Reid Dick, R.A., being responsible for the sculptural features including the recumbent lion at the very top looking east. The Menin Gate marks the start of one of the main roads leading from Ypres to the front; the infamous ‘Menin Road’ along which the British and Commonwealth forces with no know grave marched to the front. Built by the Imperial War Graves Commission, the Menin Gate Memorial was unveiled on 24 July 1927. Reid Dick’s lion was executed in Portland stone brought from England by a team of Belgian stonemasons (seven of them from the local De Plancke family) in situ on top of the gate due to the weight. The stonemasons are said to have carved no fewer than seven lions before they were happy with the an example that captured the sprit of Reid Dick’s model.
The gate combines a classical victory arch and mausoleum designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield.
Sir William Reid Dick, K.C.V O., R.A., (1879-1961), King’s Sculptor in Ordinary for Scotland, studied at the Glasgow School of Art until 1907, and in London at the City and Guilds School, Kennington. After service in the First World War, he was admitted an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1921 and 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.
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 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 facing the United States Embassy (1946); Sir William Reid Dick's archives are held by the Tate Gallery and he is buried in St. Paul's.