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Sculpting Royalty: Hew Locke and Mary Thornycroft

Study Gallery

Henry Moore Institute, Leeds

Free Entry

What happens when the work of a Victorian royal sculptor quite literally clashes with a twenty-first century reframing of monarchy and memorialisation?

This display takes as its starting point the recent acquisition of Hew Locke’s Souvenir 10 (Princess Alexandra) 2019 for the Leeds collection, a reworked Parian ware bust of Princess Alexandra of Denmark produced after a marble original by Mary Thornycroft.

In tandem with Sculpting Royalty, another work from Locke’s Souvenir series is currently on display at Harewood House in north Leeds as part of Harewood Biennial 2024: Create/Elevate.


About the artists

The British royal family in all its manifestations, and throughout history, is ever present in the work of Guyanese-British sculptor Hew Locke (b. 1959). For Locke, images of the royal family have functioned as symbols of British power, history and identity.

Working during the reign of Queen Victoria, British sculptor Mary Thornycroft (1809-95) became known primarily as a royal sculptor, patronised by the monarch herself and commissioned to produce portrait busts of over four generations of the royal family.


Main image: Hew Locke, Souvenir 10 (Princess Alexandra) 2019 © Hew Locke. All rights reserved, DACS/Artimage 2024. Photo: Anna Arca.

Roger Fenton, photograph of Mary Thornycroft with statue of Princess Helena as Peace, c.1855. Image courtesy Leeds Museums and Galleries (Archive of Sculptors’ Papers, Henry Moore Institute).

Getting here

Henry Moore Institute

74 The Headrow
United Kingdom

T:  01132 467 467