The sculptor Mary Pownall Bromet (1862 – 25 February 1937) was born in Leigh, Lancashire in 1862, where her father, James Pownall, was a silk manufacturerLeigh’s silk industry grew after 1827 in and around the area of the old parish when silk was woven on domestic hand looms and later in weaving sheds using silk yarn supplied from Macclesfield by agents from Manchester. . She studied in Frankfurt for a year, in Paris for six years, including a year in 1897–1898 when she was a pupil of Rodin, after which she studied in Rome for four years. Following her marriage to the barrister Alfred Bromet in about 1902, she and her husband moved to Lime Lodge in Oxhey, where she had a studio.
Pownall Bromet was President of the Society of Women artists and an Associate Member of the Royal Society of British Sculptors. Her autobiography, “Response“, was published by Methuen in 1935.
Mary Pownall Bromet donated three plaster figures she had made during the First World War to Watford Peace Hospital. She made the first figure “To the Fallen” in 1914 after attending a casualty’s funeral. “To the Wounded” was made in 1916 and the third figure,”Victory“, followed. Collectively known as “The Spirit of War“, they were cast in bronze by Morris Singer & Company at a cost of about £800 after a public appeal for funds. The trio of figures was unveiled outside the hospital on 18 July 1928. Few war memorials were sculpted by women and Watford’s is a rare depiction of male nudes in war memorial sculpture.
The male figures have separate plinths connected by a curved wall. The central standing figure has his right arm raised and the flanking figures are seated (one in a pose that recalls Rodin’s “The Thinker“). The memorial is Grade II* listed. Its description describes its creator as having “a talent for emotionally vigorous sculpture”.
- Acquedotts Claudio, Roma
- A Sunbeam
- An Intruder
- The Great Specialist
- The Kiss
- A La Recherche de la Brebis Perdue
- Love or Money 1906
- The Intruder 1906
- The Great Specialist 1907
- A Ragamuffin 1907
- A Bolshevic Commissar 1923