Francis William Doyle Jones (1873-1938)


“The statue ‘Chimera with Personifications of Fire and the Sea’ is above the door to 24-28 Lombard St in the City of London. The chimera is in the centre, with Fire on her left and Sea on her right. It was created in 1914 by Francis William Doyle and is signed on the side of the base of the figure of fire with ‘F.W. DOYLE JONES 1914’. The statue and door together are 6m high x 5.5m wide. It is made of bronze, which is dark brown in colour due to exposure to the elements. All three figures sit on top of an arched pediment, which sits above the door. This means the chimera is raised slightly above the others.

In classical mythology, the chimera could be made from multiple creatures. Homer and Ovid claim the front part of her body is a lion, the back part is a dragon, and the middle is a goat, but this is one of many options (Hom. Il. vi. 180, xvi. 328 ; comp. Ov. Met. ix. 646.). This chimera has the head of a woman, the body of a lion and feathered wings extending from her back, making her look more like common depictions of a sphinx. The chimera sits on her haunches with her front legs straight and is glaring downwards. She is wearing an ornate breastplate which goes down in a deep V to just above her paws. At the top and bottom, it curls like a scroll or the capital of an ionic column. At the top it curls in towards her body and at the bottom it curls away from it. Her hair extends down either side of her head in two ornate plaits and she has a thin headband across her forehead. Her front paws are resting on a globe and her wings are partially extended, reaching to about halfway along the backs of the figures to either side of her.

Both Sea and Fire are represented by women. (Sea carries a caduceus: “The symbol experienced a particular uptick in use during the Neoclassical period of the eighteenth century. In Rousselet’s series, Les Arts Liberaux, the allegorical figure in Rhetoric holds the caduceus, levying its associations with negotiation and communication” (Art&object) They are sitting to either side of the chimera with their legs extended in a diamond shape away from her. The upper halves of their bodies bend forwards, away from the centre while their faces turn back towards the centre. They look into the distance at a 45-degree angle from the chimera, as their gazes cross in front of her. Both are nude on top and their curves suggest a softness, contrasting to the material in which they are sculpted. Their lower halves covered in drapery. Both have similar, soft, wistful faces. The personification of Sea (to the chimera’s right from where she sits) has her hair in a low bun at the nape of her neck, whilst Fire has hers in a bun on the crown of her head.

Sea has a medium-sized anchor propped next to her. A fish emerges at the base, from between the anchor and the wall of the building. It has a downturned, gaping mouth and a furious expression, while its eel-like tail coils up the anchor. On the other side, Fire is holding a flaming torch and has a scroll leaning beside her. 24 Lombard St (the building in question) used to be the Royal Insurance building. As such, Fire and Sea represent the insurance risks of fire and sea, whilst the chimera represents the uncertainty inherent in the business of insurance.”

From Wikipedia:

“Francis William Doyle Jones, sometimes Francis William Doyle-Jones, (11 November 1873–10 June 1938) was a British sculptor. Although principally a portrait sculptor, Jones is notable for the number of war memorials he created for British towns and cities following both the Boer War and World War I.

Jones was born, to Irish parents, in Hartlepool. He was the eldest son of a stonemason and monumental sculptor, Francis Jones (c. 1846–1918), from Donaghmoyne, County Monaghan and for a time worked for his father before studying in Paris. Jones returned to England to study at the National Art Training School in London, where he was taught by Édouard Lantéri. After graduating, Jones established a studio at Chelsea in west London and had his first sculpture shown at the Royal Academy in 1903. Between then and 1936, Jones had about thirty works, including portraits and statuettes, exhibited at the Academy.

“Edgar Wallace Memorial, by F.W. Doyle-Jones. 1934. Bronze, plaque 1.04m high x 70cm wide. Fleet Street on Ludgate House, at the north-west corner of Ludgate Circus, London, WC2. Signed on the truncated neck of Wallace “F.Doyle Jones”” (Ward-Jackson). “Richard Horatio Edgar Wallace (1 April 1875 – 10 February 1932) was a British writer.
Born into poverty as an illegitimate London child, Wallace left school at the age of 12. He joined the army at age 21 and was a war correspondent during the Second Boer War for Reuters and the Daily Mail. Struggling with debt, he left South Africa, returned to London and began writing thrillers to raise income, publishing books including The Four Just Men (1905). Drawing on his time as a reporter in the Congo, covering the Belgian atrocities, Wallace serialised short stories in magazines such as The Windsor Magazine and later published collections such as Sanders of the River (1911). He signed with Hodder and Stoughton in 1921 and became an internationally recognised author.
After an unsuccessful bid to stand as Liberal MP for Blackpool (as one of David Lloyd George’s Independent Liberals) in the 1931 general election, Wallace moved to Hollywood, where he worked as a script writer for RKO. He died suddenly from undiagnosed diabetes, during the initial drafting of King Kong (1933).
Wallace was such a prolific writer that one of his publishers claimed that a quarter of all books in England were written by him. As well as journalism, Wallace wrote screen plays, poetry, historical non-fiction, 18 stage plays, 957 short stories and over 170 novels, 12 in 1929 alone. More than 160 films have been made of Wallace’s work.
In addition to his work on King Kong, he is remembered as a writer of “the colonial imagination”, for the J. G. Reeder detective stories, and for The Green Archer serial.” (Wikipedia)
“T. P. O’Connor Memorial, by F.W. Doyle-Jones. 1935-36. Bust and plaque bronze; console supporting bust stone, bust 67cm high; console 32 cm. high; inscription plaque 30 cm. high x 45 cm. wide. Chronicle House, 72-8 Fleet Street, London, WC2. Signed on the truncated neck of Wallace “F.Doyle Jones””(Ward-Jackson).
“T P O’Connor (also known, mimicking his own pronunciation of the initials T. P., as Tay Pay) had been elected as an MP for Galway in Ireland on a Home Rule platform in 1880. In 1885 he stood for both Galway and Liverpool Scotland, and was returned by both. He opted to take his seat as the representative for Liverpool Scotland, and Galway was then represented by a succession of Irish Parliamentary Party MPs.” (Almost History)

Throughout the 1910s, he also regularly exhibited with the International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Gravers and at the annual exhibition of Works by Artists from the Northern Counties held at the Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle upon Tyne.

From 1904 to 1906 Jones created a series of Boer War memorials for British towns. For the memorials at Penrith and Gateshead he created identical memorials featuring a female figure representing Peace crowning the Heroes. Following the end of World War I Jones won several commissions for further public war memorials. He created several designs, including cenotaphs, for these works…

“unveiled 8 January 1921, shortly before the opening of the adjacent Teddington Memorial Hospital, of which the memorial is located at the front. The hospital was also created as a memorial to lives lost in the First World War. An additional inscription was added to the cenotaph after the Second World War.” (Historic England)

…but in some instances, such as for the memorials at Woking, Gravesend and Brighouse he used a common design with a figure of Victory standing on a globe and holding a wreath of laurel leaves.

Jones had a keen appreciation of Irish culture and, from early in his career, received several public commissions from Irish organisations, most notably for a monumental statue of Saint Patrick at Saul, County Down; also, for instance, a memorial statue to to Thomas W. Croke at Thurles, Co. Tipperary (1922). From 1923 onwards, he was a regular exhibitor with the Royal Hibernian Academy, RHA, in Dublin. Shown at the RHA in 1923, Jones’ bust of Michael Collins was acquired by the National Gallery of Ireland in 1924 while the Hugh Lane Gallery in Dublin holds a bronze bust of Joseph Devlin by Jones.

Jones was elected an associate member of the Royal Society of British Sculptors in 1923.”

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