After his return to London John was quickly established as an important figure in the New Sculpture Movement . He became a sculptor of national and international fame, executing numerous important commissions, receiving an honorary LL.D. from the University of Wales , the Cymmrodorion medal , H.A.R.I.B.A. and he was a member of various European academies. His important Welsh commissions included the altarpiece of St. John's , Cardiff , completed in Oct. 1891 . In 1892 the third Marquis of Bute commissioned ‘ St. John the Baptist ’ for Regent's Park , which was completed in 1894 . The Hirlas Horn was designed for the National Eisteddfod in 1898 . Undoubtedly his two most important Welsh projects were the investiture regalia and medals of 1911 and the seal, trowel, mallet and level for the foundation of the National Museum of Wales . He was knighted in 1911 and in 1913-16 was given the pre-eminent position of Welsh sculptors which was the commission to sculpt St. David for the City Hall , Cardiff . His fluent, brilliant style reflected his passion and vigour. He could execute designs for portraits, figures and emblematic subjects in Rodinesque Romanticism, Neo-Baroque and careful balanced classicism, Neo-Gothic and Celtic Revival styles. John was a truly national artist who seized the opportunity of a reawakening of Welsh identity to create a style and mood fit for the new capital, institutions and heroes of Wales . The National Museum of Wales and National Library of Wales have numerous pieces of his work and others are at the Royal Academy , Tate Gallery and the Imperial War Museum .
Dr Paul Joyner, Aberystwyth
Published date: 2001