Margaret Winser
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Margaret Winser

Margaret Winser
Died29 December 1944
Known forEnglish sculptor and artist
Notable work
Hastings War Memorial

Margaret Winser (1868 - 29 December 1944) was a British sculptor, medallist, artist, and art teacher.

Life and works

Margaret Winser was born in Rolvenden near Tenterden, Kent in 1868, the daughter of Albert Winser, a farmer, and Mary Jane Winser.[1] She began working as an assistant art teacher around 1891 and then studied art, possibly in Lancashire[2] and at some time she was a pupil of Rodin[3]

Naval Good Shooting and General Service Medals

In February 1904, the Royal Mint invited students of the Modelling School of the Royal College of Art in South Kensington, London, to suggest designs for the reverse of the newly established Naval Good Shooting Medal with a requirement that "the subject shall be emblematical of the skill in shooting in the Navy". Margaret Winser's entry was selected and used, with the dies engraved by G. W. De Saulles.[4][5] Although awards of the Naval Good Shooting Medal were discontinued in 1914, Margaret Winser's design is still used for the reverse of the Queen's Medal for Champion Shots for both the Royal Navy and the New Zealand Naval Forces.[6]

She also designed the reverse of the Naval General Service Medal, instituted in August 1915 and awarded for minor Royal Navy campaigns until 1962.[7]

Royal Academy and other exhibitions

From 1904 to 1929 Margaret Winser regularly exhibited at the Royal Academy,[2] mainly as a sculptor of portrait and other medallions.[5] She was one of the female sculptors that the Royal Society of British Sculptors considered including in the Franco-British Exhibition of Science, Art and Industries held in London in 1908.[8]

Hastings War Memorial

After the First World War Margaret Winser was commissioned to design the Hastings and St Leonards War Memorial in Alexandra Park, Hastings. This included a bronze winged figure of victory and three bronze panels, depicting soldiers, sailors or airmen on active service.[9] The memorial was dedicated on Sunday 26 March 1922.[10]

Ellen Terry and Smallhythe Place

Smallhythe Place, near Tenterden was bought by the actress Dame Ellen Terry in 1899, it being her main residence in her later years.[11] Margaret Winser, who lived close by and who visited the house, produced a plaster medallion relief of Ellen Terry in 1913.[12]

Dame Ellen died at home on 21 July 1928 aged 81, in the presence of her daughter Edith Craig and son Gordon Craig, who later recalled "Mother looked 30 years old ... a young beautiful woman lay on the bed, like Juliet on her bier".[13] The next day Margaret Winser was invited to Smallhythe Place and made a mould of Ellen Terry's face, from which she produced three death masks. Of these, one remains at Smallhythe Place, one was given to Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1933 and the third was presented to the National Portrait Gallery, London in 1949.[11] Two plaster casts of Terry's hands, were also made, probably by Margaret Winser,[14] who also produced a bust of Ellen Terry based on these posthumous casts.[15]

The plaster medallion, death mask and posthumous bust, along with a relief plaque of the Hastings War Memorial that she designed, remain in the collection at Smallhythe Place,[15] which is now a museum run by the National Trust.[16]

Other work

During her career, Margaret Winser created a large number of memorial plaques, statues and portrait medallions, including one of the violinist Joseph Joachim.[5] Other work included providing the illustrations for a book 'Lays and Legends of the Weald of Kent' written by her sister Lilian Winser, published in 1897.[17]

She continued to live near Tenterden in Kent for most of her life,[2] dying on 29 December 1944, aged 76.[1]

Examples of Margaret Winser's work

These are examples of her drawing and sculpture.


  1. ^ a b "Birth and death records". Find My Past. Retrieved 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "Margaret Winser". Mapping the Practice and Profession of Sculpture in Britain and Ireland 1851-1951, University of Glasgow History of Art (Online database). Retrieved 2017.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "The National Archives". File reference: Mint 20-218 'Medal for Good Shooting: Seamen gunners'. Retrieved 2017.
  5. ^ a b c "Biographical Dictionary of Medallists Volume VI, pp 513-4". Compiled by L. Forrer. Spink & Son Ltd, 1916. Retrieved 2017.
  6. ^ "The Queen's/King's Medal for Champion Shots - Naval Awards". Retrieved 2017.
  7. ^ Joslin, Litherland and Simpkin. British Battles and Medals. pp. 233. Published Spink, London. 1988.
  8. ^ "Margaret Winser". Royal Society of British Sculptors: Minutes of Council Meetings, 13 January 1908 (Online database). Retrieved 2017.
  9. ^ "Hastings War Memorial". Imperial War Museum, catalogue of memorials. Retrieved 2017.
  10. ^ "War Memorials". Hasting online. Retrieved 2017.
  11. ^ a b "National Portrait Gallery, Death-mask of Ellen Terry". Retrieved 2017.
  12. ^ "National Trust catalogue: Plaster medallion of Ellen Terry". Retrieved 2017.
  13. ^ Michael Holroyd. (2008). A Strange Eventful History. Farrar Straus Giroux. pp. 508-9. ISBN 0-7011-7987-2.
  14. ^ The Times, 19 May 1933 records The death-mask and the cast of the hands of Ellen Terry will be presented to the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, suggesting that these two items were considered a pair.
  15. ^ a b "National Trust catalogue: Art by Margaret Winser at Smallhythe Place". Retrieved 2020.
  16. ^ "National Trust: Smallhythe Place". Retrieved 2017.
  17. ^ Lilian Winser, Lays and Legends of the Weald of Kent Published in 1897 by Elkin Matthews & Co, London.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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