While he mostly lived an expatriate life in England — where he rose to considerable sculptural prominence and became the most internationally successful artist Australia had produced — Mackennal completed a number of public works in Sydney such as the Martin Place cenotaph, the figures of Archbishop Kelly and Cardinal Moran at St Mary's Cathedral, and the Shakespeare memorial opposite the State Library.
He also created the monument to Edward VII, located on North Terrace in Adelaide; the monumental statue of Queen Victoria in Ballarat; the King Edward VII and Springthorpe memorials in Melbourne, and various statues of civic dignitaries in Brisbane and Perth.
Achievements in Britain
Mackennal was the first Australian artist to be elected to membership of the British Royal Academy; the first Australian to have work purchased for the British nation and the first Australian artist to be knighted.
In England, Mackennal created the memorial tomb to King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra as well as Britainís national memorial to Thomas Gainsborough in Suffolk, Gainsborough's birthplace.
Works for royalty
He also completed various sculptural projects for Britain's royalty, including those executed for Lord Curzon, the Viceroy of India, and for the Duke of Norfolk at Arundel Castle.
The national memorial to Edward VII, an equestrian statue of the King in the centre of London at Waterloo Place, is Mackennal's, as are works in Westminster Abbey, York Minster, Winchester Cathedral, the Palace of Westminster, and St Paul's Cathedral.
Fifty-five Mackennal works and an accompanying monograph on the artist comprise the Fifth Balnaves Sculpture Project at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.
The exhibition is on view daily from 10am to 5pm and on Wednesdays until 9pm. Admission is free.
Images: Circe 1893, bronze 240 x 79.4 x 93.4cm, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. The Felton Bequest 1910; Diana wounded 1905, bronze 26.8 x 16 x 9.5cm, private collection. Courtesy Art Gallery of New South Wales.