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Rothley Parish Council

Serving the people of Rothley

Clerk: Gail Newcombe
Parish Office, Mountsorrel
Lane, Rothley, Leicester
LE7 7PR

Tel: 0116 237 4544

Traced-Robert Jackson Emerson at the Wolverhampton Art Gallery

Robert Jackson Emerson (undated)

AN EXHIBITION IN 2011 AT THE WOLVERHAMPTON ART GALLERY

AN EXHIBITION DEVOTED TO ONE OF ROTHLEY'S FAMOUS SONS-ROBERT JACKSON EMERSON 1878-1944

Thanks to the Rothley Village website we were contacted by Jessica Bromley, the Curator of the Black Country Museums, about an exhibition being opened at the Wolverhampton Art Gallery featuring the work of the Sculptor Robert Jackson Emerson and his students. Jessica found the information following a web search and our pages came up with not only the story of his early years in the village but also a photograph of where he lived in the 'Photographs of Old Rothley' with some of his family.

THE EXHIBITION AT THE WOLVERHAMPTON ART GALLERY 2011

Jessica Bromley, Bob Lovett and Joan Lovett

In 1910 Robert Jackson Emerson became Second Master at the Wolverhampton School of Art and worked there for over thirty years. His arrival marked a new and exciting chapter for the school and many of his students went on to enjoy very successful careers.

He taught by practical demonstration in his sculpture and drawing classes and many of his sketch books are now in the museum. Sir Charles Wheeler (1892-1974) was one of his pupils who became President of the Royal Academy. Four of his students won the coveted Prix de Rome for their work.

Bob Lovett donated a book to Jessica for the collection which was presented to Emerson on his retirement from the School of Art and will shortly be on display at the Art Gallery. It will be displayed in the biennial Wolverhampton Society of Artists Exhibition. The exhibition will run between 15th October 2011 and 14th January 2012. Emerson supported the society and was such a key figure for many years.

Shown below are some of the exhibits from the exhibition.

Young Aviator

Young Aviator

The bronze cast of this work was presented to the Royal Hospital, Wolverhampton, in 1944 in memory of Norvall "Norrie" Graham, Chairman of the hospital Board of Managers. The child was modelled on the baby son of Mrs Margaret Brown Mackay whose husband was a surgeon at the hospital

Young Aviator (detail)

SASSO DI BORDIGHERRA

Painted by Emerson during a trip to Northen Italy. Exhibited at the Royal Institute of Oil Painters in 1925

SCULPTURES BY EMERSON AND HIS STUDENTS

HEAD OF DR. MACKAY 1937 BY EMERSON

MARY GIBSON 1930-1935 BY EMERSON

PORTRAIT OF MARY GIBSON BY EMERSON 1943. OIL ON CANVAS

Wolverhampton Art Circle Presidents Seal. Silver Gilt 1919. Made for the President of the Group to wear on official occasions. On loan from the Wolverhampton Society of Artists.

Designed by Emerson to commemorate the wedding of his two former students Muriel Bourne and Charles Wheeler.

A VIEW OF THE EXHIBITION

BOB AND JOAN BEING SHOWN THE EXHIBITS BY JESSICA

A VIEW OF THE EXHIBITION

THE HISTORY OF THE ROYAL BIRMINGHAM SOCIETY OF ARTISTS

To celebrate a Century of Birmingham Art a book was written by Joseph Hill and William Midgely with a chapter of personal reminiscence by Edward S. Harper.
There is no date in the book but an article in the Express and Star dated March 15th 1929 reveals the following:
In 1927 the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists, which is the focus of art in the Midlands, celebrated its centenary by an exhibition in the New-street Galleries occupied by the society of works by practically every member since its inception, many others being gathered from public and private collections throughout the country.
At the time some outline was published in the Express and Star, among other newspapers, of the history of the society, and there has recently been published, in the form of a lavishly illustrated volume, the full story of the society's century of existence, a joint production of the labours of Mr. Joseph Hill and Mr. William Midgely, with an interesting chapter of personal reminiscences by Mr. E. S. Harper, a member for many years.
Actually, the society had its beginnings 18 years earlier than the date celebrated by the centenary exhibition, for the first Birmingham Society of Artists was founded in 1809 for study and fellowship, and an exhibition was held as early as 1814, when there were works on view by Turner, Phillips-the Dudley born portrait painter-West, Flaxman, Sloane and others who supported the members by contributing.

Robert J. Emerson was one of the artists featured in the centenary exhibition and his nephew, Bob Lovett from Rothley, kindly loaned his copy of the book to be featured on the Rothley village website.

The outer cover of a Century of Birmingham Art

The back cover

The inside front cover with the name of Robert J. Emerson

Inside back cover. Bound by Mary G. Gibson 1929

R.J.Emerson, Portrait, Bronze, "Mrs. E. Findlay"

R. J. Emerson, Sasso, North Italy

MEMORIAL EXHIBITION OF WORKS

Memorial Exhibition of Works of the late R.J.Emerson, F.R.B.S
25th May to 30th June 1945

Art Gallery Committee

Catalogue

Catalogue

THE "LUCAS" AWARD

THIS IS TO CERTIFY that the "Lucas" award was given by the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists to Mr. ROBERT J. EMERSON. R.B.S. for Armourers Work and Ceremonial sword hilt: cast, chased and carved. (A photograph of which is subjoined).
Signed on behalf of the Society
Alfred Drury
President.

Royal Birmingham Society of Artists.
Exhibited in the Arts and Crafts Exhibition 1921

DINNER TO R.J.EMERSON 1937

Front of Dinner Menu to R.J.Emerson Esq. R.B.S.
December 18th
1937
(Signed by R.J.Emerson)

Signed by the guests

Pinoli's Restaurant
London, W.

THE AMERICAN NUMISMATIC SOCIETY

The American Numismatic Society
Broadway at 156th Street
New York, N.Y.
March 25th, 1925

Mr. R.J.Emerson
54 Penn Road
Wolverhampton, England

My dear Sir,

I thank you for your note of February 10th giving us permission to send your medals with other British exhibits to other cities in the United States for exhibition. If we can arrange this, we hope to arouse still more interest among Americans in the medallic art and also in the work of our fellow artists in England and the other European Countries.
With grateful appreciation of your cooperation in this work, believe me,

Very truly yours

William Chauncy Langdon
Chmn. Comm. on Foreign Medals

Personal address:-
195 Broadway
New York City

HANDWRITTEN MEMORIAL LIST

There is also a handwritten list of Memorials:

1912 Morley Memorial. Leicester
1918 Douglass Morris Harris, Wolverhampton
1918 Weaver Memorial, Wolverhampton
1919 "Express & Star" Memorial, Wolverhampton
1919 Carless, V.C. Memorial, Walsall
1920 Mrs Slater Memorial, Walsall
1922 34th Division Memorial, La Boiselle, France
1922 34th Division Memorial, Mont Noir, Belgium
1944 David Pritchard Memorial, Wednesfield
1923 Butler's Brewery
1927 E.N.M.

There is no indication on the document who compiled it.

ROBERT JACKSON EMERSON 1878-1944 IS SURELY WORTHY OF A BLUE PLAQUE IN NORTH STREET, ROTHLEY?

For more information about Robert Jackson Emerson and his early life in Rothley please click on the following link:

WITH THANKS TO JESSICA BROMLEY FOR INVITING BOB AND JOAN LOVETT AND MARION VINCENT, WEBSITE EDITOR, TO BE HER GUESTS AT A VIEWING ON 13TH JULY 2011

A visit is strongly recommended to this lovely Art Gallery in Wolverhampton.

Please click on the following link for details:

THE BLUE PLAQUE SCHEME

In 2011 the Rothley Parish Council put forward Robert Jackson Emerson for the Blue Plaque Scheme. His home is still standing in North Street and this tribute is long overdue.

The plaque was fitted in 2015 and can be seen by clicking on the site: