War Memorial sculpture, WW1

Wimbledon War Memorial, sculpture by C.L. Hartwell

Wimbledon War Memorial is a tall obelisk with summit cross raised on steps; it includes a bronze panel with a figure by the notable sculptor C.L. Hartwell.

Wimbledon War Memorial.

Wimbledon War Memorial, Parkside, situated on The Green, along the High Street where the Causeway branches off, is in the style of a tall obelisk, raised on steps and with a cross on the top: there is a long tradition of such designs, going back at least to the 13th Century Eleanor Crosses, which were Gothic and hexagonal in cross section, while the Wimbledon War Memorial is square in cross section and Classical. Five steps, the lowest of which is raised to seat level, form the broad base to the lower stage, which itself has a deep base, and at the front, the bronze panel with figure sculpture we shall come back to. There is a curvy top to this, with a swan-necked pediment, central cartouche and cross, and crossed branches, carved in stone. On the opposite side of the memorial, the pediment has within it a good example of a 1920s carved lion's head, within a wreath and holding olive leaves in his mouth. Behind rises the tall obelisk, with a carved wreath on the front, another on the back, and festoons of carved fruit at the top, where it is truncated with a capital. On this sits the cross, which is of the Cross Moline heraldic type. The whole construction is in white Portland Stone. The architect was Thomas Jackson, and the memorial was put up in about 1921. Further inscriptions were added after World War II.

C.L. Hartwell's figure of the Angel of Peace.

The bronze panel on the front contains an Angel of Peace. She is standing face on, holding in one hand a wreath of laurel, in the other, a tall palm leaf, thus Victory and Peace. She wears diaphanous robes, with heavier pleats at the front and thicker fabric around the waist. The figure avoids complete symmetry by virtue of one hand pressing the wreath against her leg, the other, with the frond, extended outwards, giving her body, and wings, a slight slant down to the left. Her face, with hair parted at the centre, hearkens back to the Arts and Crafts rather than forwards to Art Deco. The figure with its wings completely fills the available space.

Rear of war memorial and carved lion's head.

The sculptor of this piece, Charles Leonard Hartwell, was fairly local, having trained under W.S. Frith at Kennington a few miles away, still south of the River Thames, and being born a few miles beyond that, in Blackheath. Although mostly a portrait sculptor, Hartwell has several other war memorials, most notably the St George and the Dragon at St John's Wood, London. More on him on this page.

Also in Wimbledon: St Mary's Church monuments