The Sculpture of Gilbert Ledward

Catherine Moriarty

Research output: Book/ReportBook - authoredpeer-review


Trained in the conventions of the late nineteenth century, Gilbert Ledward (1888-1960) adhered to representational values suited to public commemorative projects. The first artist to win a scholarship in sculpture to the British School at Rome, and a soldier in the First World War, he was a sought after sculptor of war memorials. His figurative designs of those that fought remain evocative of the Great War and its cost. The Guards' Division Memorial at Horse Guards Parade (1922-5) is his most prominent work in London and he designed sculpture for the Imperial War Graves Commission Memorial to the Missing at Ploegsteert, Belgium (1926-9). During the 1930s Ledward turned from the established practice of modelling in clay to carving stone direct. While other artists pioneered the development of modern sculpture, ultimately towards abstraction, Ledward's work remained figurative. His belief that sculpture had a social purpose, both as a fine and an applied art, led to his involvement in a wide range of projects. In 1934 he co-founded the firm Sculptured Memorials and Headstones in an attempt to promote carving by regional artists in native stone. He made architectural sculpture for many major buildings in the capital. Professor of Sculpture at the Royal College of Art, elected to the Royal Academy in 1937 and a President of the RBS, Ledward was an outspoken member of the art establishment. He was involved in debates about the place of sculpture in twentieth-century society and the professional standing of the sculptor. This book examines the shift in values that Ledward found so troubling and that preoccupied him in the years after the Second World War. The Sculpture of Gilbert Ledward places attention on the processes and practice of sculpture and reproduces many sketches and working drawings previously unpublished. It is the first comprehensive record of Ledward's work.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon, UK
PublisherHenry Moore Foundation in association with Lund Humphries
ISBN (Print)9780853318316
Publication statusPublished - 2003

Publication series

NameThe British Sculptors and Sculpture Series

Bibliographical note

This is a beautifully designed monograph, with well chosen photographs, and incorporates a comprehensive catalogue raisonné of the artist's work.' Vanessa Nicolson, The Burlington Magazine

Includes 11 colour and 150 b&w illustrations


  • sculpture
  • design
  • commemoration
  • war artist


Dive into the research topics of 'The Sculpture of Gilbert Ledward'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this