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(b Hadleigh, Suffolk, 17 Dec. 1825; d London, 7 Oct. 1892). English sculptor. He was a founder of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848, the only sculptor among the members. His early career was unsuccessful, so he decided to try his hand at gold-prospecting in Australia; his departure in 1852 inspired Ford Madox Brown's picture The Last of England (1852–5, City AG, Birmingham). Woolner found little gold in Australia, but he began to prosper as a portrait sculptor, and after returning to England in 1854 he made a name for himself with a marble bust of his friend Alfred Tennyson (1857, Trinity College, Cambridge, and several replicas). His work was praised for its lifelikeness and he produced portraits of many other distinguished sitters. Woolner also did a few figure subjects, occasionally painted, and wrote poetry.

Text source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)

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