Ernest Gillick's collection of postcards and photographs of sculpture, monuments and paintings

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Gillick made a collection of postcards that were probably used as source material and as a reference tool for his work. They are mainly images of sculpture and monuments and they record the countries he visited. There is a strong collection of British images, particularly from London, including war memorials and church monuments; a good collection of postcards from Italy, where Gillick won a travelling scholarship in 1902; and France, which includes many ecclesiastical sculptures and postcards from the Musée de sculpture comparée. His friends also sent him postcards from wherever they travelled and the collection includes images of monuments that no longer exist. There are also a small number of photographs relating to the making of Gillick's lions for the Glasgow Cenotaph, 1921-1924.

Administrative / Biographical History

Ernest George Gillick was born in Bradford on 19 November 1874. The Gillick family later moved to Nottingham while he was a small child. Ernest studied at the Nottingham School of Art and the Royal College of Art (1899 -1904), where he met sculptor and medallist Mary Gaskell Tutin (1881 - 1965). They were engaged in June 1903 and married at the Richmond Free Church on 24 August 1905.

During his time at the Nottingham School of Art, Ernest Gillick won Gold, Silver and Bronze medals for his sculptures, in various National Competitions, thus gaining him recognition and the start of his career as a sculptor. While at the Royal College of Art, Ernest gained an upper class Diploma in Sculpture and Modelling, as well as winning a competition to partake in an art tour of Italy (1902 and1904).

In 1908 his bust of 'Miss Schepel' appeared in the Royal Academy of Arts exhibition, where he continued to display work, almost yearly, until his death in 1951; his last pieces that year were, 'Study for a Memorial to Brian Opperman (killed in action)', 'Oliver Barstow (killed in action)' posthumous head and 'Madonna' statuette group.

His 'Ouida' memorial, one of his most famous works, was produced in 1909 after winning a contest advertised in 'The Daily Mirror' in 1908. The Ouida Memorial, located in Bury St. Edmunds, (as this was the birth place of author Maria Louise Rame, 1839-1908; pen name 'Ouida') was unveiled by Lady Evelyn Guinness. 'The Times' also published an article and photographs of the unveiling along with various other acknowledgements in numerous magazines, newspapers and journals.

In 1911 he was commissioned to design the new Mayoral Seal for The City of London, replacing the previous broken seal from 1381. The subtle changes he made to the design made his new seal identifiable, but kept the recognition and integrity of the original.

He and his wife Mary collaborated on several projects over the years, such as the 'Model for The Royal Academy Schools Medal' 1938, 'Memorial to Frederic Anstruther Cardew' for The English Church in Paris', (1950) and 'The Antarctic Medal'. They had a strong working relationship, working side by side in the same studio, and were featured in an article entitled 'Husbands & Wives', noting them as 'one of the happiest combinations is that of Mr and Mrs Ernest Gillick.'

Ernest gained recognition outside of the United Kingdom and in 1922 he travelled to India to produce a memorial piece for The Rajah of Cochin (1896 - 1914). As well as this his 'Ex Tenebris Lux' sculpture has been housed in Christchurch, New Zealand since 1938.

His later work focused on architectural pieces and war memorials. He was commissioned to complete several war monuments including 'The War Memorial at East Leake', 'Forest Row War Memorial', 'Glasgow War Memorial' and the memorial to Edward Harrison (the inventor of the gasmask) for The Chemical Society. He produced memorial fountains and large outdoor monuments of Sir Frances Powell and 'Ouida'. He was also chosen to produce a statue for Cardiff City Hall of Henry VII (Harri Tewdwr) (1916); this was part of a group of 10 statues of Welsh historical figures.

In 1935 Ernest became the present Master of The Art Workers Guild, and taught sculpting techniques to students.

Ernest died suddenly in his studio in September 1951 of heart failure. Mary received hundreds of letters displaying sympathy and grief and continued on with his work in tribute.

Arrangement

The postcards have a sequential running number but have been organised into the following categories:

  • Sculpture and monuments
  • London public sculpture
  • London churches
  • Public sculpture outside London in Great Britain
  • Churches outside London in Great Britain
  • Monuments outside London in Great Britain
  • British Museum
  • Victoria & Albert Museum
  • Tate Gallery
  • Other Museums Great Britain
  • Other British & Irish sculpture
  • America
  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • Croatia
  • Egypt
  • France - monuments, churches etc. alphabetical by place in France
  • France - Museums
  • Other French sculpture
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Italy - monuments, churches etc. alphabetical by place in Italy
  • Italy - Museums
  • Other Italian sculpture
  • Netherlands
  • Portugal
  • Spain
  • Switzerland
  • Ancient Classical sculpture
  • Unidentified sculpture
  • Fine Art
  • Renaissance art - pre-17th century
  • 17th - 20th century

Other:

  • Decorative arts and crafts
  • Bells
  • Images from books/manuscripts
  • Images of animals
  • Photographs of famous people
  • Photographs of people, general
  • Miscellaneous

Conditions Governing Access

Available to all registered researchers. The Archive is open by appointment only.

Other Finding Aids

A finding aid is available for consultation in the HMI archive searchroom

Archivist's Note

Archives Hub description was created by Katie Gilliland

Related Material

Related archives available at the Henry Moore Institute:

  • 2006.41: Papers of Ernest and Mary Gillick
  • 2012.26: Letters and papers from Ernest and Mary Gillick to the Evans Family