Sir Alfred Gilbert
Person Born 12/8/1854 Died 4/11/1934
Sculptor and goldsmith. Born 13 Berners Street. Eloped with his first cousin, Alice, marrying in Paris and then living in Rome. Returned in 1884 and became successful and famous, attracting many commissions, some from the royal family. A good friend of the sculptor Princess Louise. Built a large house and studio at 16 Maida Vale. However he was excessively generous and, as a perfectionist, each commission could take him many years so money became a major problem. His wife could not cope with this life and was looked after in a private nursing home. 1901 he declared himself bankrupt, and moved with his family to Bruges.
Alice returned to England and died in 1916. Albert would frequently return to London to lecture but the art school he had set up in Bruges failed and his commissions continued to go bad financially. He was poor and his reputation was in tatters. He married his housekeeper, Stéphanie and stayed in Bruges until 1924 when they went to Rome for two years and then came to England in July 1926. King George V took pity on the 72-year old man and accepted him back, arranging a studio for him at St James's Palace and then from 1932, when he was knighted, at Kensington Palace where he also lived. Died at Cromwell Nursing Home, 198 Cromwell Road.