This volume focuses on the public sculpture and monuments in the eight boroughs of outer south and west London. These stretch in a curve from the northernmost borough of Hillingdon, which borders the boroughs of Ealing and Hounslow, to Richmond that straddles the Thames, to the southern boroughs Kingston, Merton, Sutton, and Croydon. Of the 300 public monuments and sculptures detailed, over three quarters were originally commissioned by wealthy royal and aristocratic patrons to adorn their private residencies from the 16th to the 18th century. The wealth of works include architectural reliefs, statues, and garden ornaments such as fountains and urns produced by major metropolitan sculptors. Hampton Court Palace has architectural and garden sculpture by John Van Nost, Gabriel Caius Cibber, Grinling Gibbons and Edward Pierce. Cibber's Hercules pediment was perhaps Britain's first monumental pediment sculpture later imitated throughout the country. At Chiswick House Lord Burlington with his supreme knowledge of European sculpture employed Michael Rysbrack, Peter Scheemakers and Giovanni Battista Guelfi. The rise of new patrons in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and the desire to establish strong local identities resulted in a rich diversity of monuments, obelisks, bridges, fountains and clock towers. Municipal patronage replaced private commissions exemplified by Croydon's Town Hall, Library and Law Courts with its ambitious programme of decorative and symbolist sculpture emphasizing education, public order and other civic virtues. Education is also the theme of Hamo Thornycroft's statue of John Colet, the founder of St Paul's School. Early aviation at Croydon and Heathrow inspired much distinctive public sculpture and more recently prosperous commercial centres within the boroughs include the hundred-acre Stockley Business Park which has provided a wealth of contemporary work by major sculptors such as Stephen Cox, and William Pye, alongside works by Nigel Hall and David Mach commissioned by Kingston in partnership with Kingston University.
Publisher: Liverpool University Press