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Mary Thornycroft (née Francis)

1 of 2 portraits of Mary Thornycroft (née Francis)

Mary Thornycroft (née Francis), by Mary Alyce Thornycroft, 1892 - NPG 4065 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Mary Thornycroft (née Francis)

by Mary Alyce Thornycroft
bronze bust, 1892
20 1/4 in. (514 mm) high
Given by the sitter's granddaughter, Mrs W.O. Manning, 1958
Primary Collection
NPG 4065

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Mary Thornycroft was one of the few women sculptors of the Victorian period to receive public recognition. She first exhibited at the Royal Academy at the age of twenty-one and was still working as a sculptor at seventy-six. Her most famous commissions were the marble busts she made of Queen Victoria's many children. She married the sculptor and engineer Thomas Thornycroft at the age of thirty-one and had seven children in quick succession, many of whom became artists in their own right. Her eldest surviving daughter, known as Alyce, initially worked as a sculptor, exhibiting at the Royal Academy at the age of twenty. She later turned increasingly to painting but continued to sculpt, and made this bust of her mother in the early 1890s.

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