Albert Arthur Toft was born on the 3rd June 1862 in Birmingham, the son of Charles Toft (1832-1909) who was principle modeller for the Wedgwood factory and brother of J. Alfonso Toft (1871- 1964) who was an artist. Toft was apprenticed at the Josiah Wedgwood Factory at Etruria and studied at evening classes at the Hanley School of Art, he then went on to Newcastle under Lyme School of Art.
In 1881 Toft won a scholarship to attend the National Arts Training School in South Kensington (later Royal College of Art) where he trained under Edward Lanteri (1848- 1917) and received silver medals in his second and third years. 'The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography' describes Toft as one of the major figures of "New Sculpture" following on from William 'Hamo' Thornycroft and George Frampton. Toft has described his work as 'Idealist' but he also said of himself that "to become an idealist you must necessarily first be a realist."
From 1885 onwards Toft exhibited at the Royal Academy and some of his most notable works exhibited at the Royal Academy included 'Fate-Led' (1890), 'The Sere and Yellow Leaf' (1892), 'Spring' (1897), 'The Spirit of Contemplation' (1901) and 'The Metal Pourer' (1915). In 1915 his sculpture 'The Bather' was purchased using the Royal Academy's Chantrey Fund. In 1900 Toft received a bronze medal at the Universal Exhibition in Paris
Although Toft was never elected to membership to the Royal Academy, in 1891 he was elected to the Art Workers Guild and in 1938 he was elected a fellow to the Royal Society of British Sculptors.
Toft's sculpture can be seen in the permanent collections at the Walker Art Galley in Liverpool ('Fate Led'), the Laing Gallery in Newcastle upon Tyne ('The Spirit of Contemplation') and the Birmingham Art Gallery ('Spring' and 'Vision'). Toft's commissions also include War Memorials to the South African War in Birmingham, East Suffolk, Warwickshire and Cardiff. Toft also produced statues for the Hall of Memory in Birmingham which are allegorical images of the army, the navy, the air force and also women's services.
As well as War Memorials Toft also produced dedication statues to Queen Victoria in Leamington, Nottingham and South Shields, dedications to King Edward VII in Highgate Park and Birmingham and a dedication to Sir Charles Mark Palmer in Newcastle upon Tyne.Toft was also well known for his production of busts including a terracotta bust of George Wallis and busts of William Gladstone, Philip James Bailey (for the Holbrook Trust, Nottingham) and Robert Bontine Cunnighame Graham (now in the National Galleries of Scotland).
In addition to practising sculpture, in 1911 Toft produced a book entitled 'Modelling and Sculpture' which was reprinted in 1949 and was intended as a handbook for students of sculpture.
Toft was a member of the Savage Club, a "bohemian gentleman's club" founded in 1857 where membership is classified according to five categories; Art, Music, Drama, Literature, Science and Law. Toft appears to have been a member from c. 1917 until c.1947.
Albert Toft was married to Florence Emma Toft and had five children; Phyllis Evelyn (Richardson), Edith Gladys (Bousfield), Alice Constance (Harding), Francis Sybil (Toft) and Albert Victor Vernon (Toft). Albert Toft died on 18th December 1949, aged 86 in Worthing.