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John Poole (sculptor)

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Anthony John John Poole, FRBS, Hon FRBSA, born Handsworth, Birmingham, 17 December 1926 - died Bishampton, Worcestershire, 2 September 2009 Was a British freelance sculptor, and winner of 2 Otto Beit medals

Early life

Poole grew up in Hall Green, Birmingham, attending Hall Green Infants and Junior School, Stratford Road At the age of 12 he gained a place at Moseley Road Junior School of Art, and went on to study Industrial Design at the Birmingham School of Art At the age of 17, in the Studio of William Bloye, he learnt the art of letter carving in the style of Eric Gill In December 1944, Poole was called up for service in the Coldstream Guards and the Parachute Regiment during World War II As a lieutenant he served in France and in Germany as a liaison officer during the Nuremberg trials He was subsequently recruited as an officer in the Parachute Regiment 7th Light Infantry Parachute Battalion, serving in Egypt and Palestine


His first major commission was "The Sower", an heroic-size figure, carved out of Belgian granite in 1959, for Cannock Library in Staffordshire

Thirty of his major commissions were in and around Birmingham, his most notable being "The Rotunda Relief" at Lloyds Bank 1963 A 1,500-square-foot 140 m2 ciment fondu mural for the Lloyds Banking Hall in the newly built Rotunda in Birmingham, which was subsequently Grade II listed by English Heritage However, since that building was renovated, it has been hidden from view, with only a small part visible, on the top floor of a retail unit

Birmingham Cathedral has a font and cover in bronze, as well as memorials to Ambrose Brown and Dr William Small of the Lunar Society, all by Poole

He was associated with the Cadbury family, particularly Sir Adrian Cadbury and with the Church of St Francis of Assisi in Bournville, where his tympanum, "The Canticle to the Sun", font, aumbrey, sanctuary lights, and Cadbury memorials can be seen

In 1969 he won the Otto Beit medal for Sculpture for his "Risen Christ" at St Dunstan's Church, King's Heath and then again in 1974 for his "Last Supper" carving on the Altar and Ambo in St Helen's Cathedral in Brentwood, Essex He is the only sculptor to have received two Otto Beit medals


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Chinn, Carl 2009-11-28 "Sculptor will live on forever through art" Birmingham Mail Retrieved 2012-05-14   – via HighBeam subscription required
  2. ^ Obituary in The Independent
  3. ^ Anon 2009-09-25 "Esteemed sculptor John dies, aged 83" Birmingham Post   – via HighBeam subscription required

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