Bronze, by Sir William Reid Dick (1879-1962)
This bronze statue stands in the Begonia garden, in Queen Mary’s Gardens. It was donated by Sigismund Goetze in 1935 and offered to the Office of Works by the sculptor. Sir William Reid Dick was born in Glasgow, trained at the Glasgow School of Art and was apprenticed in a stonemason’s yard. He came to London in 1907, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1908 and became President of the Royal Society of Sculptors. Living quite near to the park in Clifton Hill, he was one of the most distinguished artists of the time and became Sculptor in Ordinary to King George VI, having been knighted by the king’s father in 1936. There is a striking contrast between the young boy in the begonia garden and his other work, such as the statue of King George V at Westminster, Franklin Delano Roosevelt in Grosvenor Square, the Kitchener Memorial Chapel at St Paul’s Cathedral. Perhaps that is why he threatened to withdraw his offer when the Department of Works criticized the black granite used for the pedestal which they felt was ‘lugubrious in itself and discordant with its surroundings’.