(b London, 9 Mar. 1850; d Oxford, 18 Dec. 1925).
British sculptor, one of the leading exponents of the New Sculpture. Early in his career he concentrated on idealized figures in which he expressed a ‘poetic mood’ praised by the critic Edmund Gosse: the best-known example is probably The Mower (1884, Walker AG, Liverpool; there are also several smaller versions). From the 1890s, however, he was increasingly preoccupied with portrait sculpture and above all public monuments, becoming perhaps the most distinguished British practitioner in this field in the early 20th century. His statues, dignified and thoughtful in tone, include those of Oliver Cromwell outside the Houses of Parliament, London (unveiled 1899), Alfred the Great in Winchester (1901), Gladstone in the Strand, London (1905), Lord Armstrong in Newcastle upon Tyne (1906), Lord Curzon in Calcutta (1912), and Edward VII in Karachi (1915). These are all in bronze, but he also worked in stone.
Both his father, ThomasThornycroft (1815–85), and his mother, MaryThornycroft (1814–95), were sculptors. They were primarily portraitists, but Thomas is now chiefly remembered for his dramatic Boadicea monument at Westminster Bridge, London, showing the fearsome warrior queen in her chariot. He began work on the group in 1856 and was encouraged by Prince Albert, who lent him horses as models. The plaster model was complete at Thornycroft's death, but it was not cast in bronze until 1897, after his son had presented it to the nation, and it was finally erected in 1902.