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Later Victorian Portraits Catalogue

(Edward) Onslow Ford (1852-1901), Sculptor

Sculptor; born 27 July 1852, in London. Studied in Antwerp and Munich; worked in London from around 1874; long exhibiting career; elected ARA 1888, RA 1895; Master, Art Workers Guild 1895; died 23 December 1901, in London, suddenly, perhaps by suicide.[1]

Ford exhibited mainly portraits, with subjects including William Ewart Gladstone, Henry Irving (NPG 5689), John Everett Millais (NPG 1329) and General Gordon. A close associate of Alfred Gilbert, he also built a reputation for poetic sculptural subjects such as Folly (1886; Tate) and The Singer (1889; Tate), which anticipate the New Sculpture movement; his chef-d’oeuvre is the Shelley memorial in Oxford (1892, University Coll.).

Ford was said to look ‘like a Frenchman and his sympathies are foreign’[2] – a judgement based on his dandified appearance. His temperament struck friends as ‘frail and fragile’.[3]

Dr Jan Marsh

Footnotesback to top

1) See Stocker 2004c.
2) ILN, 3 Aug. 1895, p.131.
3) Hamilton 1921, p.127.

Referencesback to top

Armstrong 1912a
Armstrong, W., ‘Ford, Edward Onslow (1852–1901), DNB, supplement 2, London, 1912.

Hamilton 1921
Hamilton, J.M., Men I Have Painted, London, 1921.

Jones et al. 1996
Jones, S., and others, Frederic Leighton 1830–1896, exh. cat., Royal Academy, London, 1996.

Maas 1984
Maas, J., The Victorian Art World in Photographs, London, 1984.

Massé 1935
Massé, H.J.L.J., The Art-Workers’ Guild 1884–1934, Oxford, 1935.

Ormond & Ormond 1975
Ormond, L., and R. Ormond, Lord Leighton, London, 1975.

Robinson [1892]
Robinson, R.W., Members and Associates of the Royal Academy of Arts, 1891. Photographed in their Studios by Ralph W. Robinson of Redhill, n.p., [1892].

Rosenblum, Stevens & Dumas 2000
Rosenblum, R., M. Stevens and A. Dumas, 1900: Art at the Crossroads, exh. cat., Guggenheim Museum, New York and Royal Academy, London, 2000.

Stocker 2004c
Stocker, M., ‘Ford, (Edward) Onslow (1852–1901)’, ODNB, Oxford, 2004; online ed., October 2007.

Swanson 1977
Swanson, V.G., Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema: Painter of the Victorian Vision of the Ancient World, London, 1977.

Swanson 1990
Swanson, V.G., The Biography and Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings of Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, London, 1990.

Walery 1888–96
Walery [Stanislas Julian, Count Ostrorog], ed., Our Celebrities: A Portrait Gallery … Portraits by Walery, 5 vols (vol.1 ed. L. Engel), London, 1888–96.

[Wood] 1984
[Wood, C., intro.,] A Fraternity of Artists: A Set of Sixty-two Portraits of Late Victorian Artists, by Walker Hodgson, exh. leaflet, Christopher Wood Gallery, London, 1984.