COLLECTORS FIGHT FOR STATUES
Two statues by a South Yorkshire sculptor have caused major ripples in the art world.
The statues by Kilnhurst-born Charles Sargeant Jagger had stood virtually forgotten in the corner of a wildlife park near Reading in Berkshire.
But when the statues were put up for sale it led to a stampede by art collectors and a record price of more than £245,000.
They have become the most expensive pieces of garden statuary ever sold by Sotheby's South.
Saleroom experts had expected the statues - in Portland stone and featuring satyrs and maidens - to make around £100,000.
They were eventually bought by a private collector after a saleroom battle by a number of bidders.
Charles Sargeant Jagger carved the statues in the 1920s. He was from a family of artists whose work is now featured in a number of major collections.
The statues were one of 13 lots consigned to the garden statuary sale from Beale Park.
CHARLES SARGEANT JAGGER (1885-1934) - A KILNHURST SCULPTOR
Charles Sargeant Jagger is a British sculptor, born in Kilnhurst, and best known for his war memorials. He is described by Alan Borg as 'the only major artist to have made his reputation in this way' (War Memorials: From Antiquity to the Present, 1991). His most prestigious work is his Artillery Memorial at Hyde Park Corner in London.
Charles Sargeant Jagger was born at Kilnhurst, Yorkshire, the son of a colliery manager, and at the age of 14 he was apprenticed as a metal engraver with the Sheffield firm of Mappin & Webb. In 1907 he won a scholarship to the Royal College of Art where he studied from 1908 to 1911. His early work, such as Torfrida (Clifton Park Museum, Rotherham, c 1911) shows the impact of the 'New Sculpture' in its medievalism and concentration on surface qualities. At the end of his student period he won a travelling scholarship that enabled him to spend several months in Rome and Venice.
In 1913 he was placed second to Gilbert Ledward in competition for the Rome Scholarship and the following year he won the award. However, the First World War intervened before he could take it up. He enlisted in the army, fought at Gallipoli and in France, was wounded three times, and won the Military Cross. His experience of trench warfare is reflected in his huge bronze relief No Man's Land (Tate Gallery, London, 1919-20). He began making sketches for this in 1918 when he was recovering
from a severe wound, and the finished work was commissioned by the British School of Rome in lieu of the scholarship he had relinquished. It is one of the grimmest images inspired by the war, showing a solitary look-out taking cover behind corpses strewn across barbed wire.
Machine Gun Corps
Some of this realism survived in his memorials, the first of which was the Hoylake and West Kirby Memorial, Lancashire (1919-20); it contrasts a powerfully characterised infantryman — dishevelled but resolute — with an allegorical figure of Humanity. Jagger's most famous work is the Royal Artillery Memorial (Hyde Park Corner, London, 1921-5), the most prominent feature of which is a huge stone howitzer (fulfilling the wishes of the regiment that the monument should be clearly identifiable as its own). Below this, life-size bronze statues of an officer, a driver, a shell-carrier, and — a bold decision — a dead soldier are combined with stone reliefs depicting war as painful labour in a style reflecting Jagger's admiration of Assyrian art. This was a vision far removed from the symbolic or idealised approach of most contemporary war memorials (for example, Derwent Wood's nearby Machine Gun Corps memorial) and the work caused considerable controversy, partly because the howitzer was in stone rather than the more natural-seeming bronze (Jagger said that he did not want a dark object against the skyline). In 'The Buildings of England', Sir Nikolaus Pevsner refers to the 'ill-advised portrait in stone of a big gun', but to Arthur Byron (London Statues, 1981), the Royal Artillery Memorial is 'a superb work'.
Jagger remained a leading sculptor after the demand for war memorials was over, his major commissions including stone figures at Imperial Chemical House, London (1928). He came to be regarded as a conservative figure, although some of his late work clearly shows the influence of Art Deco. In 1933, a year before his sudden death from a heart attack, he published an instructional book Modelling and Sculpture in the Making; this was still in print in the 1950s and remains a valuable account of studio practice in the early part of the 20th century.
In November 1998 the Trustees of the National Portrait Gallery agreed to purchase a portrait in oils of Charles Sargeant Jagger by David Jagger.
Art Review, February 2000, discusses two new war memorials proposed for Hyde Park Corner, one to commemorate the 5 million Indians and hundreds of thousands of Africans and Caribbeans who volunteered to fight, and many of whom died, in the First and Second World Wars, to be in the form of gates, and, the more important memorial, a monumental sculpture to commemorate animals killed in war. It states that this is a sensitive commission because not only is it potentially a major work of art in the most prominent of public places, but it stands opposite the Royal Artillery Memorial of Charles Sargeant Jagger, which many believe to have been the greatest public sculpture made in Britain during the 20th century. It is said that competing with Jagger is a daunting prospect and must be the sculptural equivalent of being a writer and embarking on a novel knowing that whatever is achieved it will only be a fraction as good as Great Expectations.
THE LOCAL GLASSWORKS.
Mr Thomas Barron, his brother Joseph and five others started the Glassworks, considering there was a good opportunity in this locality for practical men like themselves to make it a prosperous concern.
They worked together in partnership for about two years; but, as invariably happens when several persons are interested in an undertaking, unpleasantness arises, and five of the partners were 'paid out'. They went to Swinton and carried on the trade there, having the works which are now (1881), managed by the firm known as the South Yorkshire Glass Bottle Company.
The 'Phoenix' was, consequently, then owned solely by Messrs. Thomas and Joseph Barron. Unfortunately, the two brothers did not work well together, Joseph being wishful of starting business on his own account.
In 1885, the two brothers dissolved the partnership, Joseph taking charge of the Don Glass Works, which he conducted for several years. It did not prove a success however, and the new establishment was eventually sold to Mr. Montagu and others. Not long afterwards they came into the hands of Messrs. William Roebuck, Joseph Bullock, Charles Bullock and Mark Joel (of Chesterfield); Mr Hartley Barron, son of Joseph, being their manager. In a short time, this company gradually dissolved partnership, Mr Joseph Bullock being the first to 'draw out'. Mr Waddington & Sons became the owners and Mr Hartley Barron then built the Bull Green Glass Works. After carrying on at Bull Green for some years, he was successful and now the works belong to Messrs. Lowe Brothers.
In this notice we cannot help but make reference to the plodding industry of Mr Thomas Barron who, notwithstanding all opposition, has had his efforts smiled upon by Providence who, in response to daily mercies, has aimed to make those happy around him. We well remember the time when he manifested such sympathy towards the non-unionists whom he employed. But he found the task of defending the weak often thankless and always unprofitable. We do not think we can be accused of exaggeration if we state that such defences cost him hundreds of pounds. Now the workmen are all unionists.
For some years parish affairs were left in his hands and as overseer we know of no one who could have given greater satisfaction. He was one of the first and longest serving members of the Local Board when Mexborough was constituted a sanitary district. The rapid growth of the town is unquestionably due to no small extent, to his benevolent and speculative spirit.
Twenty years ago (1861) there were only about 2,000 persons in this place, whereas the population now is between 6,000 and 7,000 (1881).
When the 'mushroom' was erected - this is the name of their oldest 'house' at the Phoenix Works - the only other works in Mexborough were the small pottery, owned by Mr Peter Emery, which stood where the Medical Hall' now is situated, and the Rock Pottery, belonging to Mr Sydney Woolf, M.P. for Pontefract.
There are now seven glass `houses' and the Rock Pottery; the extensive Brick sand Pipe Works, established by the late Mr Simpson of Conisbrough and the Don Iron Works belonging to Messrs. H and S. Barker and Company which find employment, between them, for thousands of workmen.
Recently, Mr Barron has added machinery to his works for the manufacture of mineral and medicinal waters and various beverage bottles, at a cost of about £3000, and we have no doubt he will be well repaid for the expenses laid out.
More expense was incurred some ten years later (circa 1890) when money was spent on the addition of the latest innovation, that of the gas furnace.
Extracts from South Yorkshire Times 1881 from the archives of the late Barrie Chambers.
ANDREW FOUNTAYNE-WILSON MONTAGU,
Extract from South Yorkshire Times. Date unknown.
From the archives of the late Barrie Chambers.
When Andrew Montagu, Lord of the Manor of Mexborough, died on Tuesday, October 8th 1895, the tenants of Mexborough were to lose one of the most generous and liberal of landlords as well as a benefactor to the district as a whole.
Born June 12th 1815, the eldest son of Richard Wilson and Sophia Osbaldeston, he was to take the name Montagu on attaining the age of twenty-one in pursuant of a clause in the Will of his great grandmother's brother, Frederick Montagu and in so doing became the representative of those three great and ancient families Fountayne, Wilson and Montagu.
With a net personal estate of some £1,992,656 and real estate totalling some 25,000 acres in Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Northumberland, Surrey and Hampshire, he was one of the twelve wealthiest commoners of England, deriving an income of between £36,000 to £40,000 a year from the land alone.
And yet, no one believed more thoroughly than Mr Montagu that with great riches there are great responsibilities, and he acted up to his belief that, afforded the opportunities, it was his duty to do great things. Examples of his work not only in the locale of Mexborough but much further afield, not only in the affairs of the working man, his tenant, but a strong political supporter too in that his influence and munificence was felt most keenly whenever the Conservative party felt in need of assistance him having been a staunch Tory throughout his life.
Known amongst friends as the 'Squire', his was the motivation behind the fruition of the Mexborough Cottage Hospital, which prior to 1886 had been used as a schoolroom by the Primitive Methodists. Mr Montagu gave them a site on Dolcliffe Road in exchange for this schoolroom which was readily changed into a hospital, a further wing being added in 1891 in memory of the death of his brother James Montagu.
Although a staunch Churchman, his views respecting other dissenting bodies were not narrowed to the extent that they were not to be shown the broadness and charity of mind. The Wesleyan Reform Chapel in Oxford Road was built as a result of the Mexborough Theatre being built in such close proximity to the Old Mount Zion Chapel. Being reported to Mr Montagu that the Chapel followers were not too overjoyed in being so close to a place devoted to secular amusement, he generously gave them the sum of £1,000 for the chapel and a site on which to build a new one. Also they were allowed full use of the old chapel unto such times as the new one was ready for service then permitting the congregation to remove the whole of the seating and fixtures from the old building.
Further afield, the young Mr Andrew Montagu was well known as a man about town, and was a familiar figure in the fashionable haunts of London life at the beginning of the nineteenth century. He had a passion for the theatre, was a constant first-nighter and while yet a young man dabbled in theatre management itself, being at one time, owner of the Royal Opera House in the Haymarket, on another occasion joint lessee of the Opera House in Covent Garden. His was the making of more that one politician as was he the patron and the helper of more than one composer and more than one dramatist.
It was Mr Andrew Montagu who made young Benjamin Disraeli (Lord Beaconsfield) the power that he afterwards became. It was an open secret and one that the Lord of Hughendon Manor himself never sought to conceal that Mr Montagu's unbounded and most ready generosity helped to make it possible for the Earl to attain and to maintain the exalted position which he reached in the ranks of the Conservative Party.
Welcome back to a new season of meetings, we hope everyone can find something of interest in the new programme, which is available tonight.
During the summer we continued our plan to move into rooms in Mexborough Library and as I write these notes we eagerly await news of a grant application to pay for the rent for the next two years. The Committee has decided that we should take up the library's offer from November regardless of the outcome of the grant application. October's meeting will be the last one to be held at the New Masons, as the landlord believes new people will be taking over in November and cannot guarantee the use of the upstairs room.
It may be necessary to adjust our membership and entrance fees to absorb the extra cost of using the library's rooms, however, we hope all costs will be met by grants from various funds. We intend to hold our meetings in the large room underneath the library on the last Tuesday of the month as at present but I think the most exciting development will be to have one of the other rooms as a permanent archive, open to the public at certain times, where we can house our ever increasing collection.. To furnish this room, buy a computer and equipment several more grant applications will have to be successful, we may eventually be able to get funding to employ an archivist on a part time basis.
As the grant applications grow in value, not only do the forms get more and more difficult to fill in, but also the criteria have to be more focused. With this in mind, we have been advised that to have continued success with grant applications the Society's constitution must be upgraded and made more professional. Funding bodies like to see recipients are well organised and know where they are going. Tonight all members will receive a copy of the proposed new constitution; members not attending will have a copy posted to them in the next few days. Please read it, you will be asked to approve the changes made at our next meeting in October. Also it may be necessary to have the accounts audited by an independent body, we will keep you informed. Thanks must go to Malcolm Jevons and Jill Arkley who had the difficult task of rewriting the constitution.
As most of you are aware the Society has organised various visits over the last few years, these have had a roller coaster ride, some overbooked others almost cancelled due to lack of support. One of the biggest problems has been people backing out at the last minute. After several discussions the Committee decided not to abandon organised visits but to bring into use a ticket system. Tickets will now be issued upon payment of a £5 deposit, non-returnable; a travel ticket will be issued upon payment of the outstanding amount. We hope this system will make the organising of visits more manageable so that they may continue. The Medieval Christmas Market at Skipton on 9 December will be the first visit organised in this way. Get your tickets tonight from Fred & Vera.
At last work has begun on the level crossing improvements at Denaby, however, every silver lining has a cloud - one of the large concrete legs supporting the bridge sits directly on the site of Denaby Pottery, later the bone mill. A group of archaeologists from Manchester have done a dig and found a few things of interest. We will pass on any more information as it becomes available.
It is almost too late by the time you read this, but Cusworth Hall has the Restoration Plans for the Heritage Lottery Fund Bid on display. Members of our group are invited to visit the exhibition and fill in a questionnaire airing opinions on the proposals. The exhibition continues only until the end of September.
Congratulations go to two members, Jill Arkley and Malcolm Jevons who announced their engagement recently. Good Luck for the future!