Sir George Frampton

Charles Keene

1896

Medium
Bronze
Dimensions
Object: 902 x 597 x 76 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by the artist 1905
Reference
N01954

Display caption

This relief is a memorial to the illustrator Charles Keene (1823–91). Keene was a popular cartoonist for the magazine Punch. The philanthropist Pasmore Edwards commissioned the sculpture for a new library in Shepherds Bush (1896), close to where Keene had lived. Frampton's design includes an inscription with lettering in an Art Nouveau style. The portrait is in low relief and was probably based on a photograph as it was made after Keene had died. The two weeping allegorical figures on protruding pedestals are sculptures in the round; the one on the left holds a figure of Mr Punch.

Gallery label, February 2010

Catalogue entry

N01954 CHARLES KEENE 1896
 
Inscr. ‘C.K’ (in monogram) c.l., ‘Geo Frampton 1896’ c.r. and ‘Charles S. Keene. Born Aug: 10 1823 Died Jan: 4 1891’ below.
Bronze, 35 1/2×23 1/2×3 (89×59×8).
Presented by the artist 1905.
Exh: Late Members, R.A., winter 1933 (585).
Lit: M. H. Spielmann, British Sculpture and Sculptors of To-day, 1901, p.93, repr. p.90.

Charles Samuel Keene (1823–91), draughtsman and contributor to Punch and Once a Week, died at 112 Hammersmith Road. The Tate Gallery owns a self-portrait and a number of drawings by him. The Passmore Edwards Library (a branch of the Hammersmith Public Libraries) in Uxbridge Road, Shepherd's Bush, was erected as a memorial to Charles Keene and Leigh Hunt. On 16 December 1896 J. Passmore Edwards unveiled the bronze plaque of Keene which was subscribed for by about sixty of Keene's personal friends and admirers. The following year a similar plaque of Leigh Hunt, also the work of Frampton, was unveiled. The Library has been remodelled in recent years, but the tablets have been replaced on the entrance wall.

The original plaster cast was presented by Mrs Edwin Edwards to the Tate Gallery in 1905 (see N05998). The sculptor then offered to make another bronze cast specially for the Tate Gallery. The Passmore Edwards Library cast was exhibited at the R.A., 1897 (2074), and what appears to be the plaster was reproduced in Royal Academy Pictures, 1897, p.11.

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, I