Lot 217 (Garden and Natural History Sealed Bid Auction, 2nd October 2019)
Architectural: ▲ A carved limestone plaque of a printer at his press by James Woodford O.B.E. R.A.
signed James Woodford 1954
145cm high by 110cm wide
Woodford was born in Nottingham on 25 September 1893 and started studying at the Nottingham School of Art, but his studies were curtailed when he enlisted during the First World War. After the war, he continued his training at the Royal College of Art in London, and was Rome Scholar in 1922-25. In 1934 Woodford created a monumental pair of doors for the headquarters of the Royal Institute of British Architects at 66 Portland Place, London.
Woodford did some decorative work for the liner RMS Queen Mary, carving wooden screens and designing bronze uplighters for the cabin class smoking room.
For the coronation ceremony of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, Woodford made a set of ten plaster sculptures of the Queen’s Beasts, each 6 feet tall to be placed at the entrance of Westminster Abbey. He went on to make a set of Portland stone replicas which an anonymous donor presented to Kew Gardens in 1956. They now stand on the Palm House Terrace.
In the 1950s Woodford made a set of reliefs representing the four elements for the Lloyds building in Lime Street in the City of London.
In 1951 he made the group of bronze statues of Robin Hood and his Merry Men that stand near the gates of Nottingham Castle. The group is now Grade II listed as part of the historic setting of the castle. In 1962 he modelled a new version of the royal coat of arms for use on major public buildings such as courts and embassies for the Ministry of Public Buildings.
He was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy on 2 March 1937 and a full Academician on 27 April 1945, and appointed OBE in the 1953 Coronation Honours. He died on 8 November 1976.
This panel would have been either an individual commission or more likely, one of a set representing various specialist skills.
James Arthur Woodford OBE RA (1893-1976) was an English sculptor. His works include sets of bronze doors for the headquarters of the Royal Institute of British Architects and Norwich City Hall; the Queen’s Beasts, originally made for the Coronation in 1953, and later replicated in stone, and the statue of Robin Hood outside Nottingham Castle.
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