War Memorials

Works of Gilbert Bayes

War Memorials

Commemorative Sculptures

Following the aftermath of the First World War, there was a great need to commemorise those who had fallen in battle and whose bodies could not be brought home. The listing of names was also the driving force behind the War Memorial Movement in the 1920's and exhibitions were held at the Royal Academy at the Victoria and Albert Museum as well as other regional centres in order to guide local committees in their choice of sculptors, manufacturers, materials, styles and subject matter. In the Victoria and Albert Exhibition of 1919 not only was work by living sculptors shown but also models for memorials, objects, designs and photographs were exhibited. Gilbert Bayes was one of 200 sculptors, artists and designers in many fields who exhibited. The first of the five exhibits shown by Bayes was a photograph of the St Mary's Church, Primrose Hill Rood Screen that had been installed in 1914. Also included in this exhibition was a plaster copy of a relief, created for Aldeburgh, Suffolk and subsequently shown at the Royal Academy. Another piece of work in this exhibition was Bayes's Destiny, which was used as the focal point of the War Memorial in Ramsgate, Kent as well as a plaster of an equestrian statue that was also shown at the Royal Academy exhibition.

The Offerings of Peace
The Offerings of War
King of Assyria


In 1915, Bayes had submitted to the Art Gallery in New South Wales, a pair of 18 inch bronzed plasters figures entitled Offerings of Peace and Offerings of War. In 1916 he was commissioned to make much large bronze versions to be mounted outside the Museum's main façade.

The installation of his panel, the King and Queen of Assyria in 1926, which had been selected by George Frampton as part of a larger work in 1903 established Bayes as a modern sculptor with a growing reputation as well as his suitability for a war memorial artist.

The first of the commissions following the exhibition was for a memorial for Broadstone, Dorset, followed by two stylistically related memorials for Hythe in Kent in 1921 and Todmorton in Yorkshire and unveiled in 1921. A commission received from the National War Memorial in St John's, Newfoundland in 1920 and finally unveiled in 1924 was the final large scale sculpture that Bayes undertook, which related to the First World War. After the Second World War, Bayes was commissioned to add an airman to the group.

Panels & Tablets

In addition to freestanding memorials, Bayes also designed and made a series of panels and tablets, the most significant of which was the elaborate scheme for the Law Society. Commissioned after World War One, this was further modified after the Second World War, at the request of the Law Society and dedicated by the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1949.

St George was a theme employed by Bayes along with many other war memorial sculptors and he used this on many occasions. An example of this was the memorial to the Missing of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force in Jerusalem, unveiled in 1927, a more passive version of which was used for the memorial for St Basil's Church, near Newport Gwent.

Panels & Tablets
Gold Coast Soldier
ICI War Memorial


Commissions were received after the Second World War from Imperial Chemistry Industry and for the Sun Insurance Company. Perhaps one of his most significant works of this period is the commission he undertook for Goldcoast Forces Memorial, in which he employed a life model for the bronze soldier figure.

In his output and stylistic diversity, Bayes made a significant contribution to the War Memorial Movement. His commissions from 1916 to 1950 spanned both World Wars and through his working methods, his extensive use of exhibitions, his contacts with friends and his use of modern yet familiar styles, Bayes reveals the ways in which sculptors of his time gained war memorial commissions and just how valuable these were for him and his contemporaries.