Artist biography

British sculptor. He was a highly regarded student at the Royal College of Art, London (1908–11), whose early sculpture showed a fanciful treatment of classical and literary themes. In 1914 he gave up the Prix de Rome to enlist in the army. He began work on No Man's Land (1919–20; London, Tate) while still convalescing from war wounds. This low relief presents a stark vision of trench warfare. Corpses stranded on barbed wire are ranged across a ravaged landscape, while the solitary live figure of the look-out in the foreground, a surrogate for the spectator, uses them for cover. Jagger attempted to maintain such realism in commissioned war memorials, most successfully in the Royal Artillery memorial (1921–5; London, Hyde Park Corner; see Monument, public, fig. 4). His obsessive concern for detail, shared by the regimental committee who commissioned the work, reached its zenith in the stone replica of a howitzer, which surmounts his vivid representation of war as hard and dangerous labour. Although he remained in demand as a sculptor of monuments, it is for his war memorials that he is chiefly remembered. He received a Military Cross in World War I and was made an ARA in 1926.

N. Penny: ‘English Sculpture and the First World War', Oxford A. J., iv/2 (1981), pp. 36–42 (40–42)
Charles Sargeant Jagger: War and Peace Sculpture (exh. cat., ed. Ann Compton; London, Imp. War Mus., 1985)


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