King Edward VII

King Edward VII by Sir Thomas Brock, K.C.B., R.A. (1847-1922) 1914. Gilded Bronze. North entrance, British Museum, London. According to the British Museum's Collections Online, this "gilt bronze portrait bust of King Edward VII" with "his head turned slightly to right, wearing the Garter robe and the cross and chain of the Royal Victorian Order, on a waisted bronze socle" should be dated 1914, and the marble version, "now in Buckingham Palace, was probably exhibited at the RA in 1911."

Commentary by John Sankey

In 1909 a marble bust of King Edward VII was commissioned by Viscount Esher from Thomas Brock on behalf of a group of close friends of the King. Edward VII died in May 1910 before the bust was finished. Esher and his friends then decided to present it to the new King, George V, as a Coronation gift.

The bust was shown at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in May 1911, and on 23 June 1911 the King wrote to Esher: ‘I am touched that the thought of my beloved father, who for so many years regarded you as a personal friend, should have prompted your choice of the present you have so kindly given me on my Coronation Day. This likeness of him will be a precious and lasting possession, for which I desire to express to you my most sincere thanks’. The marble bust is now in the Royal Collection in Buckingham Palace.

In May 1913 the Trustees of the British Museum (who included Lord Esher) received permission from the King to have a bronze replica of the bust made for the new Edward VII wing. Brock made the bronze bust (pictured above), which was unveiled by George V at the Museum on 7 May 1914 (The Times 8 May 1914).

Photograph by George P. Landow. Research and text by Jacqueline Banerjee and John Sankey. [You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite it in a print one.]

Bibliography

Portrait Bust, British Museum's Collections Online. Viewed 20 November 2009.

Brock, Frederick. Thomas Brock, Forgotten Sculptor of the Victoria Memorial. Ed. John Sankey. Bloomington, IN.: Ian Thompson/Author House, 2012. pp. 131, 138.

Sankey, John. Thomas Brock and the Critics – an examination of Brock’s place in the New Sculpture movement. PhD Thesis, University of Leeds, 2002. pp. 187-88 (accessible online at etheses@whiterose.ac.uk)


Last modified 22 May 2015