An information board commemorating the
life of sculptor Robert Glassby was unveiled on September 21, 2013.
Performing the ceremony adjacent to the Almshouses on Church Street
was Sue Piper, one of Robert's descendants. (photograph kindly
supplied by Ron James)
The plaque reads:
It was in this gable end property known as Odd House
Farm, Windsor Castle Hill, Mexborough, that Robert Glassby, Sculptor
to Queen Victoria, was born to William Jackson Glassby (stonemason)
and his wife Elisabeth on the 18th December 1835
The house was home to Thomas and Hannah Gill Roberts Maternal
grandparents though Robert was raised on Church Street, Mexhorough,
by his paternal grandfather, Robert Glassby Senior (1775-1849) who
was a parish clerk and school teacher.
His first apprenticeship was as a shoemaker but, aged 15, he took up
employment with Joseph Barlow, a quarry owner.
In 1854 Glassby began working as a journeyman stonemason, firstly in
Wolverhampton then in Doncaster where following the church fire at
St George's, stonemasons were in demand.
1856 he went to work for Joseph Hadfield, in Sheffield, where he
also studied at the Sheffield School of Art. He carved the 'Glassby
Arch' which was erected in the garden of local pottery owner and
patron John Reed, who also commissioned 18 stone heads from Glassby
In addition to sculpting he enjoyed painting which he studied in
In 1864 he moved to London continuing his studies at the London
School and the Royal Academy School. In London he worked for John
Birnie Philip and assisted in the carving of the sculptures on the
Foreign and Commonwealth offices, King Charles Street, Whitehall.
He was studio assistant, for 21 years, to Joseph Edgar Boehm. one of
England's best known sculptors- In this capacity he worked on many
commendable pieces like the statue of John Bunyon. On Boehm's death,
Glassby was requested to finish his incomplete works, including the
statue of Emperor Frederick III, originally sited in St. George's
Chapel Windsor Castle (now at the Royal Mausoleum, Frogmore).
In 1866 he married Mearea Mercy Davis and they had 10 children.
Glassby regularly exhibited at the Royal Academy, amongst his many
works was the statue of Apollyon and Cupid and the Bee.
In 1875 his work was formally recognised and he was made an
associate member of the Sheffield Society of Artists.
In December 1890 Glassby received a commission from her Majesty
Queen Victoria for the equestrian statuettes of the Queen and the
Prince Consort and the Duke of Wellington. In addition the Queen
commissioned a bust of the late Grand Duke of Hesse, which is in the
Royal Mausoleum, Frogmore, a bust of Thomas Carlyle and a statue of
Sir Edgar Boehm.
Robert Glassby died on the 3rd August 1892.