Memorial and enclosure to Godfrey Sykes 80 metres north-east of Mappin Art Gallery

Overview

Heritage Category:
Listed Building
Grade:
II
List Entry Number:
1254484
Date first listed:
28-Jun-1973
Date of most recent amendment:
14-Apr-2021
Statutory Address:
Weston Park, Sheffield, S10 2TP

Map

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Location

Statutory Address:
Weston Park, Sheffield, S10 2TP

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District:
Sheffield (Metropolitan Authority)
Parish:
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:
SK3395587412

Summary

Memorial and railings, 1871, designed by James Gamble incorporating components designed by Godfrey Sykes. The terracotta was manufactured by M H Blanchard and Sons.

Reasons for Designation

The memorial and enclosure to Godfrey Sykes, 1871, designed by James Gamble, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* as an impressive memorial incorporating a design of one of Sykes’ elaborate terracotta columns for the South Kensington Museum (later the Victoria & Albert Museum), topped by a bronzed urn and on a high square pedestal with bronzed relief panels, with a railing enclosure using Sykes’ design for railings at the Museum.

Historic interest:

* the listed South Kensington Museum (V&A) is synonymous with its decorative terracotta, which was used extensively for the building as a direct result of Sykes’ influence;

* Godfrey Sykes, who had trained and taught at Sheffield School of Design, was notable for his skill and the design quality of his terracotta work, showcased on the South Kensington Museum (V&A), a memorial exhibition of his work being held there shortly after his untimely death.

Group value:

* the memorial stands in the vicinity of the listed Mappin Art Gallery in the registered Weston Park, which also has two listed gateways and contains the listed York and Lancaster Regiment’s Boer War Memorial and War Memorial, a bandstand and a statue to Ebenezer Elliott;

* the memorial has design group value with the listed south-east gateway, which was also designed by James Gamble and incorporates replicas of terracotta panels designed by Sykes for South Kensington Museum (V&A).

History

Godfrey Sykes (1824-1866) trained and then taught at the Sheffield School of Design (renamed the Sheffield School of Art in 1857) and also worked in Sheffield under the sculptor and designer Alfred Stevens during the mid C19. In 1859 he went to London to work on the architectural decoration for new buildings for the Royal Horticultural Society Gardens and then the South Kensington Museum (later the Victoria and Albert Museum). Terracotta became the 'signature decorative material for the Museum' and was used as a direct result of Sykes’ influence.

In 1866 Sykes died of Bright’s disease while in London. A memorial exhibition of his work was staged at the South Kensington Museum shortly after his death. It included a terracotta column similar to the columns designed by Sykes and located outside the Lecture Theatre of the South Kensington Museum. It is described in the exhibition catalogue as having 'bands representing Infancy, Manhood and Old Age'. Sykes’ style was said to have been inspired by Raphael and, more especially, Michelangelo.

The memorial was commissioned by Sheffield Corporation, together with the grand gateway at the south-east corner of Weston Park, to commemorate Sykes' life and work. It was designed by James Gamble, who had been both a friend and assistant to Sykes. It incorporated a copy of one of Sykes’ terracotta columns, while the base of the column, urn and roundel relief portrait of Sykes were designed by Gamble. The terracotta was manufactured by M H Blanchard and Sons and the 'bronze' (copper electroform) elements were probably by Elkington's of Birmingham. The railings round the base were a copy of a Sykes design for the Museum. The memorial was completed in 1871, but it was not installed in the newly laid-out Weston Park until 1875 when the park opened to the public. It was originally located in a position north of the Mappin Art Gallery.

The memorial was re-sited to its current location in Weston Park in 1982. It was restored in 2007-2008 when the column was cleaned, removing white paint first applied in the 1960s, and given a terracotta-coloured protective coating. At this time the railings were also repaired.

Details

Memorial and railings,1871 designed by James Gamble incorporating components designed by Godfrey Sykes. Terracotta manufactured by M H Blanchard and Sons.

MATERIALS: a terracotta column on a stone pedestal with an urn finial and relief panels of copper patinated and varnished to resemble bronze, surrounded by cast-iron railings.

DESCRIPTION: not inspected, information from other sources. The terracotta column is enriched and elaborately decorated with a moulded base and a Corinthian capital. Immediately above the moulded base is a narrow relief band of olive branches. Above this, the column has three bands depicting the 'Three Ages of Man' in relief, separated by fluted bands with decorative foliage. The top figurative band shows infancy with children playing and a swaddled baby held by an angel; the middle band shows adulthood with a wedding ceremony; and the bottom band shows old age with bearded men shown thinking, travelling and pointing the way. Beneath the capital is a carved band of acanthus leaves. The column is topped by a circular, moulded pedestal with a bronzed urn and stands on a high, square pedestal with a moulded plinth on a square base.

The pedestal has four framed bronzed relief panels. The front, west, panel bears the inscription in raised letters: THIS MONUMENT WAS / ERECTED IN THE YEAR / 1871 BY THE INHABIT / -ANTS OF SHEFFIELD / IN MEMORY OF GODFREY / SYKES THE COLUMN / PLACED UPON THIS / PEDESTAL IS HIS / WORK. The rear, east, panel bears the inscription in raised letters: GODFREY SYKES BORN / AT MALTON IN THE / YEAR 1824 A PUPIL AND / AFTERWARDS MASTER / IN THE SCHOOL OF ART / OF THIS TOWN HE WAS / CALLED TO LONDON IN / THE YEAR 1859 TO SUPER / -INTEND THE DECORA / -TION OF THE SOUTH / KENSINGTON MUSEUM / AND DIED THERE 1866. The south side panel shows a medallion with a bust of Sykes in relief, and the north side panel depicts an artist’s palette, brushes and canvas in relief.

The memorial is surrounded by a square enclosure of decorative cast-iron railings with larger corner posts with shaped finials standing on a square stone platform with rounded kerbs.

Legacy

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
457338
Legacy System:
LBS

Sources

Books and journals
White, D, Norman, E, Public Sculpture of Sheffield and South Yorkshire, Public Sculpture of Britain Volume Eighteen, PMSA National Recording Project, (2015), 231-234
Websites
Graves, S, Godfrey Sykes (1824-1866), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography , accessed 20 January 2021 from https://doi.org/10.1093/ref.odnb/26868

Legal

This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

Images of England

Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Date: 10 Apr 2006
Reference: IOE01/15430/21
Rights: Copyright IoE Mrs Barbara A West. Source Historic England Archive
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