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Sir Hamo Thornycroft RA (1850 - 1925)

RA Collection: People and Organisations

Hamo Thornycroft was one of the leading exponents of the New Sculpture, a movement in British sculpture reacting against the neo-classicism of mid-Victorian sculpture.

The son of two prominent sculptors, Thornycroft overcame initial resistance from his father to train as a sculptor at the Royal Academy Schools. He then studied art in France and Italy before returning to England, where he quickly established himself as Britain’s leading sculptor. During this period Thornycroft moved from a neo-classical idiom to the more realistic approach associated with the New Sculpture movement. Teucer, a version of which is in the RA collection, depicts a Classical subject but with a naturalistic modelling of the torso. That same year Thornycroft was elected as an Associate of the Royal Academy, becoming a full Member in 1888. Thornycroft taught regularly at the Royal Academy Schools and as such was an important influence on the next generation of sculptors.

In later years Thornycroft took subjects drawn from contemporary life in works like Mower and Sower. He also established himself at the forefront of late Victorian portrait statuary, receiving important public commissions including statues of Oliver Cromwell and Alfred the Great. At the same time he supervised the production of bronze reductions of his sculptures and made statuettes, making his work suitable for domestic environments.

Thornycroft was knighted in 1917 and in 1924 became the first recipient of the Royal Society of British Sculptors’ gold medal. He was a friend of many important artistic figures of his generation including G. F. Watts, Lord Leighton and Thomas Hardy, and the critic Edmund Gosse, the principal theorist of New Sculpture.


Royal Academician


Born: 9 March 1850 in London, England, United Kingdom

Died: 18 December 1925

Nationality: British

RA Schools student from 14 June 1869

Elected ARA: 20 January 1881

Elected RA: 10 May 1888

Gender: Male

Preferred media: Sculpture

Works by Sir Hamo Thornycroft in the RA Collection

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Works associated with Sir Hamo Thornycroft in the RA Collection

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Associated archives

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