The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Edward Onslow Ford, 1852-1901

Nationality: English
Date of Birth: 1852
Place of Birth: London
Date of Death: 1901.12.23
Place of Death: London


Edward Onslow Ford was an English sculptor.


Ford studied painting and drawing in Antwerp and Munich, before following the career of a sculptor from 1870. He also studied in Paris, and McLure Hamilton, who painted Ford's portrait, described the sculptor with his pointed beard, long moustache, hat with a straight brim 'à la Whistler', pegtop trousers and square-toed shoes with silken ties as having 'the allure of the garçon du Quartier Latin'.

Ford was greatly influenced by the New Sculpture of Alfred Gilbert, as is evidenced by a work such as Sir Henry Irving as Hamlet (1883; Guildhall, London) which goes beyond mere physical likeness to an investigation of the sitter's inner self. Ford became a member of the Art Worker's Guild in 1884 and in 1889 he was elected President of the National Association for the Advancement of Art and its Application to Industry. He was elected ARA in 1888 and RA in 1895.

The professional models Hetty, Lily and Rose Pettigrew who posed for Whistler also posed for Ford. Ford contributed to a fan made by Walter Crane c. 1894-8 which had its separate spokes designed by different artists for which JW designed a dancing girl, Dancing girl, on a fan (M.1423).


Armstrong, W., 'E. Onslow Ford, ARA', Portfolio, 1890, pp. 67-71; Dixon, M. H., 'Onslow Ford, ARA', Magazine of Art, vol. 15, 1892, pp. 325-30; Gosse, E., 'The New Sculpture, 1879-1894', Art Journal, 1894, pp. 202, 227-28, 281-82, 306-7; Dixon, M. H., 'Onslow Ford, RA', Art Journal, 1898, pp. 294-97; Dixon, M. H., 'Onslow Ford, RA: An Imaginative Sculptor', Architectural Review, vol. 8, 1900, pp. 257-63; Hamilton, John McLure, Men I Have Painted, London, 1921; Young, Andrew McLaren, Margaret F. MacDonald, Robin Spencer and Hamish Miles, The Paintings of James McNeill Whistler, New Haven and London, 1980; Beattie, S., The New Sculpture, New Haven, 1983; MacDonald, Margaret F., James McNeill Whistler. Drawings, Pastels and Watercolours. A Catalogue Raisonné, New Haven and London, 1995; Brook, Anthea, 'Edward Onslow Ford', The Grove Dictionary of Art Online, ed. L. Macy, (accessed 1 March 2002).