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William Wagstaff

William Wagstaff

Person  Male  Born 16/11/1880  Died 13/12/1962

Categories: Sculpture

William Wheatley Wagstaff. Sculptor, architectural sculptor, stone carver, sculpture business and foundry owner.

Born Keighley, West Yorkshire. By 1910 he had moved to London. WW1 he was employed as a draughtsman in an aircraft factory.

"In 1920 Wagstaff joined the firm of 'Arts and Crafts' in Shanghai, China in answer to an advertisement for a sculptor. A few years later he opened his own sculpture, ornamental plaster and metal work studio and workshop with a Chinese workforce in the Great Western Road, Shanghai. With the help of his two sons, Donald (1904-41) and Alec (1908-43), W.W. Wagstaff & Sons were well known in the Far East before the Second World War with branches in Singapore (run by Alec) and Hong Kong (run by Donald)."

Both sons died serving in WW2. "William Wagstaff and his wife, Mina, were interned in China during the war. In 1946 they decided to sell up their business and return to England, they landed in 1947. From 1947-61 the Wagstaffs lived in Kent and then moved to Edinburgh in 1961 to be close to family."

Wagstaff spoke perfect Shanghai dialect. Hunch-backed, Wagstaff was nicknamed "Lao Doo Pei", meaning "Old Hunchback". His son, inevitably, was called "Sau Doo Pei" – "Young Hunchback."

Information from the always-useful Mapping Sculpture and Public Art Around the World.

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