Sir Joseph Edgar Boehm. (1834 – 1890)

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Born in Vienna, of Hungarian descent, the son of the director of the Vienna mint, in 1834. Came to London 1848 and studied for 3 years, mainly in British Museum; then studied in Italy, Paris, and Vienna. In 1856 Boehm was presented with the Austrian Imperial Prize for Sculpture, the start of his distinguished career. He came to live in England in 1862, and was granted citizenship in 1865. He became a member of the ARA in 1878, and was elected to the Royal Academy in 1882. A specialty of his was the portrait bust many examples of which are in the National Portrait Gallery. He received constant flow of commissions for public monuments, portrait statues and busts; he also became Sculptor in Ordinary to Queen Victoria. Besides public commissions, he also executed imaginative works. He later became lecturer on sculpture at the Royal Academy and member of several foreign academies.

During his career he was commissioned frequently by the Royal Family and members of the aristocracy to sculpt for their parks and gardens. His most important works include ‘St George and the Dragon’, which can be found outside the State Library of Victoria.
Other works include: Wellington Memorial, Hyde Park Corner; Lord Beaconsfield and Dean Stanley in Westminster Abbey; Carlyle on Chelsea Embankment; recumbent figure of Archlzishop Tait, Canterbury Cathedral. Executed stone figure of Queen Victoria and the Prince of Wales on Temple Bar Memorial, Fleet St., 1880, for which C. B. Birch modelled the “Griffin”. Executed portrait head of Queen Victoria for 1887 coinage.

His most famous pupil was the Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll daughter of Queen Victoria. Princess Louise was at his house, 76 Fulham Road, London, when Boehm died suddenly on 12 December 1890, provoking press speculation about an unsubstantiated sexual relationship between the two.

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