John Thomas (1813-1862) was born in Gloucester and after an apprenticeship as a stone mason came to the attention of the architect Sir Charles Barry. He was put in charge of the carvings on the Palace of Westminster and worked prolifically on all kinds of sculpture, executing reliefs on structures as different as Balmoral Castle and Euston Station. He became a major figure of the day, and was visited in his studio by the Queen and Prince Albert. The latter described him as "a man of consummate ability without conceit or arrogance" (from the Illustrated London News, quoted in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography). One of his many projects was the decorative stonework on the Italian Garden in Kensington Gardens. Sadly, Thomas died not long afterwards, his death apparently hastened by a dispute over his huge statue of Shakespeare for the Great Exhibition of 1862. — Jacqueline Banerjee



"John Thomas." Glasgow — City of Sculpture. Viewed 13 September 2006.

Speel, Bob. "John Thomas." Link updated 22 February 2020.

Read, Benedict. Victorian Sculpture. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1982.

Last modified 30 June 2020