Sculpture Journal

Alfred Hardiman, RA, and the vicissitudes of public sculpture in mid-twentieth-century Britain

Sculpture Journal (2015), 24, (3), 351–373.


Alfred Hardiman (1891–1949) is now known mainly for his equestrian monument to Field Marshal Earl Haig in Whitehall, but his sculpture is also prominently sited in Edinburgh, Norwich and in several locations of historic significance across London: Westminster Abbey, County Hall, St James’s Piccadilly and Eltham Palace. This article traces his rise to prominence and looks at why, after being awarded the most prestigious public commission available in 1929, Hardiman’s career over the next twenty years appears to have faltered. Despite being selected for a succession of high-profile projects and fulfilling the terms of his contracts, the impact of war, austerity and a volatile economy prevented several of his sculptures from being either cast or installed. A tireless and articulate defender of the sculptural profession, his personal experience in the public realm contributes to a fuller understanding of how contemporary public art subsequently evolved.

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Author details

Holman, Valerie