Introduction

Edwin Roscoe Mullins, who was born at 1 Great James Street, Bedford Row, London, on 22 August 1848, studied sculpture “at Lambeth School of Art, the Royal Academy Schools, and in the workshop of John Birnie Philip. Between 1866 and 1874 he studied under Professor Wagmüller at Munich, where he shared a studio with Edward Onslow Ford. Mullins was awarded a silver medal at Munich and a bronze medal at Vienna for a group entitled 'Sympathy' exhibited in 1872. He suffered from poor health in the last decade or so of his life which limited his ability to work and died in January 1907 in at Shirley, Walberswick, Suffolk.” Mapping Sculpture

Commentary by Marion Harry Spielmann's (1901)

The career of Mr. Roscoe Mullins has been one of remarkable diligence and activity. A pupil of the schools of Lambeth and the Royal Academy, of Birnie Philip, and Professor Wagmuller of Munich, under whom he stayed from 1866 to 1874, Mr. Mullins made his professional debut in Vienna and Munich in 1872, gaining a bronze medal at the former and a silver medal at the latter for his group of "Sympathy." He first appeared in London in 1873, when his "Child and Dog" was exhibited at the Royal Academy. Since then few years have passed without a goodly array of work. Busts, statuettes, and statues, numerous as they have been, have not by any means monopolised the sculptor's energies, although from 1877 onwards many distinguished persons have passed through his hands. Among these, for busts, are Mr. W. W. Ouless, R.A., in 1877; Dr. Martineau in 1878; Mr. Stopford Brooke (Grosvenor (Gallery) and Professor Jevons in 1882; Mr. Spurgeon in 1884; Mr. Ritchie in 1888; and Sir Evelyn Wood in 1896. Then there are the statuettes of Mr. Gladstone, Mr. Edmund Yates, and Mr. Val Prinsep, R.A.; and statues of General Barrow (marble, 1882, for the Senate House, Lucknow), of the Rev. William Barnes, "the Dorsetshire poet" (in bronze for Dorchester), the bronze equestrian statue of the Thehore Saheb of Marir, and the marble effigy of Queen Victoria for Port Elizabeth.

But Mr. Mullins' main, work has been, not portraiture, but ideal and decorative. In 1876 the marble figure of a girl, personifying "Innocence," appeared at the Royal Academy, and in 1881 "Rest" (acquired by Miss Hoole) Was exhibited at the Grosvenor Gallery. The figures, also in marble, of the heroines of opera, "Marguerite" and "Mignon," were shown respectively at the Royal Academy and the Grosvenor in 1883; "Isaac and Esau" at the Academy, and "Morn Waked by the Circling Hours" at the Grosvenor, in the following year. In 1884 came "Autolycus," at the Academy; in 1887, the small group in bronze called "Conquerors;" in 1891, "Love's Token," a female nude. In 1895 the bronze statue of "Boy with a Top," here reproduced, was shown first in the Academy, and then was selected for the International Exhibition of Brussels in 1897. The other figure in these pages — "Cain: My Punishment is greater than I can bear," in the New Gallery of 1896 shows the sculptor's further progress, not only in execution, but in range of feeling.

Left to right: (a) Major General Lousada Barrow. (b) Cain. “My punishment is more than I can bear.” and (c) Boy with a Top [Click on these images for larger pictures.]

It would be impossible to enumerate all Mr. Mullins' work of a purely decorative kind during the twenty years in which he has devoted himself to the beautifying of buildings. He has helped forward the movement in furtherance of architectural embellishment by the skill with which he has seconded the efforts, and worked up to the directions, of the architects for whom he has laboured. Statuary, panels, and architectural carvings, in marble, stone, and brick, have occupied him with scarce a break since he beyan with the carvings for the hotel at the Royal Albert Docks, and for the building of the Fine Art Society in Bond Street.

1title1

Putti and Shield , The Fine Art Society.

Those, too, may be mentioned which were executed for the Commercial Banking Company of Sydney, in Birchin Lane, London; the pediment for the Orthopædic Hospital in Great Portland Street; the carvings for the Chartered Bank of India; the decorative panels for the City Banks in Sloane Street and Oxford Street, and for the York Union Bank in Hull and the Town Hall at Hackney. There are, besides, the five panels representing; "Health," "Education," "Religion," "Music," and "Recreation," for the municipal buildings at Croydon: the bronze spandrels for the Bank of Scotland in Bishopsgate Street, and the frieze for the drawing rooms of the Grocers' Hall, representing the entry of Charles II into London. The most curious of all the artist's work is the Circus Horse which constitutes the memorial in the Brighton Cemetery to Mr. Ginnett, a notorious circus-owner one of the strangest subjects for treatment, it must be allowed, that could be presented to a sculptor for solution.

It must be said of Mr. Mullins that his work has strong individuality, for it could not be mistaken for that of anyone else. His ideal work shows at times a tendency to be yery quiet; his architectural work is good in style, appropriate to its purpose, and as effective as an artist-craftsman of cleverness and experience can make it. [British Sculpture and Sculptors of Today]

Works

Bibliography

Academy Architecture and Architectural Review. Ed. Alexander Koch. London: Academy Architecture, 1904-1908. Internet Archive copy from University of California Libraries.

Beattie, Susan. The New Sculpture. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1983.

Edwin Roscoe Mullins,” Mapping the Practice and Profession of Sculpture in Britain and Ireland 1851-1951, University of Glasgow History of Art and HATII, online database 2011, accessed 17 Apr 2011.

McKenzie, Ray, with contributions by Gary Nisbet. Public Sculpture of Glasgow. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2002.

Meller, Hugh, & Brian Parsons. London Cemeteries. Fourth Edition. Amersham: Avebury Publishing Company, 2008.

Read, Benedict. Victorian Sculpture. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1982.

Spielmann, Marion Harry. British Sculpture and Sculptors of Today. London: Cassell, 1901. Internet Archive. Web. 22 December 2011.

Steggles, Mary Ann. Statues of the Raj. Putney, London: BACSA [British Association for Cemeteries in South Asia], 2000.


Victorian Web Homepage Sculpture

Last modified 3 September 2011