Thornycroft won the Gold Medal for Sculpture at the Royal Academy Schools in 1875 with his bronze group of A Warrior bearing a Wounded Youth from the Field of Battle (Leighton House Collection) narrowly defeating Alfred Gilbert, whose submission on the same subject, presumably later destroyed, was described by Edmund Gosse as depicting 'a wild Celtic or Gaulish warrior, with the youth flung across a hairy pony...'. Susan Beattie notes that 'in 1876 the Art Union took a step which in light of later developments, seems peculiarly significant. The figure group A Warrior Bearing a Wounded Youth from Battle, for which Hamo Thornycroft was awarded the Royal Academy's gold medal for sculpture, appeared that year in the summer exhibition. As subscribers were shortly informed, "the Council, always anxious to give encouragement to rising talent, thought the statuette so good...that they have entered into a negociation with the author for its purchase, and a reduced copy in bronze is being prepared, and will be included in the list of prizes of a future year."' (op. cit., p. 183).
We are grateful to Peyton Skipwith at The Fine Art Society for his help in preparing this entry.