The sitter for this portrait, Alfred Hardiman, was an English sculptor. Hardiman and Lyon were friends and met when they both attended the British School at Rome in the early 1920s.
Hardiman won a London County Council Scholarship to the Royal College of Art in 1912, and three years later joined the Royal Academy School. After a period as an engineer’s draughtsman in the Royal Flying Corps during the First World War, Hardiman resumed his studies and in 1920 was awarded the British Prix de Rome scholarship, spending two years at the British School at Rome. There he developed his style, a blend of naturalism and classicism influenced by Roman and Etruscan art and early fifth century Greek sculpture.
Hardiman’s best-known (but also most controversial) work is the Earl Haig Memorial on Whitehall in London. More universally admired are the heraldic lions flanking the main entrance to the City Hall, Norwich, a work which fully epitomises his style. He was appointed consultant sculptor to the building, having worked with one of the architects, Stephen Rowland Pierce, on the Haig Memorial. Hardiman also carved three large stone figures for the outside of the council chamber, and worked with other sculptors on the project including James Woodford and Eric Aumonier.
Hardiman was elected Associate of the Royal Academy in 1936 and a full Academician in 1944. He became a fellow of the Royal Society of British Sculptors in 1938 and the following year received their silver medal for his statue of Haig. In 1946 he won a gold medal for his bronze fountain figure for the New Council House, College Green, Bristol, which however was never erected.
In 1918 he married Violet, daughter of Herbert Clifton White, of London, and had two daughters. He died at Stoke Poges on 17th April 1949.
Robert Lyon was an artist, mural painter and teacher. Born in Liverpool, he studied art at the Royal College of Art and the British School at Rome, 1924.
He became lecturer in fine art and master of painting at King’s College, Newcastle upon Tyne, 1932. For eight years from 1934 Lyon was tutor to the Ashington Group of spare-time Northumberland miner artists, one of the most remarkable of such groups to emerge in the inter-war years.
From 1942–60 Lyon was principal of Edinburgh College of Art. He exhibited RA, RBA, RP and in the provinces. Also painted murals for Western General Hospital, Edinburgh, and King’s College Hospital dental department. Lived at Rushlake Green, Sussex.