Born 3 October 1884
Active: 1911 - 1957
Country of birth and death: England
Born in Sutton, Yorkshire. Daughter of George Henry March (born c.1843 in Sutton, Yorkshire). He worked as a seed crusher (oil miller) in Yorkshire and then as a builder's clerk when the family moved to London c.1900. Eight of the March children became artists, and three of them sculptors (Sydney, Elsie and Vernon). The other artist siblings were Edward (1873-1941), Percival (born c.1878), Frederick (born c.1881), Dudley (1885-1962) and Walter (born c.1889). They lived and worked for most of their careers at the family home of Goddendene in Kent. The Marches, including their mother, Elizabeth, and father, George Henry, are buried at St. Giles Church, Farnbough, Kent. The grave is marked by a bronze statue by Sydney March, dating from 1922.
Elsie together with five of her siblings helped complete the bronze groups for the National War Memorial of Canada in Ottawa. This was a commission that was awarded to Vernon in open competition in January 1926 and was left incomplete when he died of pneumonia in 1930. The family completed the work by 1932 and are said to have cast the bronzes at Goddendene. In 1937, after the memorial groups had been shown in London, they were transported to Ottawa and the memorial arch was constructed. The unveiling ceremony took place on 21 May 1939.
The British Museum owns a bronze portrait bust of Harry Geoffrey Beasley (1882-1939), an important collector of ethnographical material particularly from the Pacific and north-west coast of North America, by Elsie March dated April 1939. The work is described in Aileen Dawson's 'Catalogue of Portrait Sculpture' (1999), no. 5 and online (see below). Dawson's entry on the bust of Harry Beasley notes a sale of 168 lots comprising pictures, watercolours, drawings and sculpture by six members of the March family: Edward, Sydney, Henry (1879-1962), Elsie, Dudley and Vernon which was held at Sotheby's, Belgravia, on 2 August 1982. This sale included a number of works by Elsie, among them: a bronze painted plaster bust of Beethoven dated 1920 (lot 143), a terracotta portrait bust called Wendy dated 1953 (lot 164), a massive bronze painted plaster of Sir Winston Churchill (lot 166) and a terracotta bust of Lawrence of Arabia dated 1936 (lot 168). A retrospective exhibition was held in the Grosvenor Hotel in the Autumn of 1981.
This record includes information supplied by Claire Garrett. The details of the bust of Harry Beasley and the information compiled by Aileen Dawson can be found at: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/search_the_collection_database/search_object_details.aspx?objectid=31695&partid=1&searchText=elsie+march&fromADBC=ad&toADBC=ad&numpages=10&orig=%2fresearch%2fsearch_the_collection_database.aspx¤tPage=1 (accessed 8 February 2012) There is further information about the National War Memorial of Canada in Ottawa at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_War_Memorial_%28Canada%29 (accessed 8 February 2012)
Exhibitions, Meetings, Awards and other Events
Exhibited at The Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts Annual Exhibition, 1861-1951
Exhibited once (two works)
Exhibited at The Exhibition of the Royal Academy of Arts (Summer Exhibition), 1768-
1919 - 1957
Exhibited 7 times (5 up to 1951), nine works in all (a mixture of ideal works, mother and child groups and portraits)
Won prize Lady Feodora Gleichen Fund (Royal Academy of Arts, Royal Society of British Sculptors), 1922-1951
One of two recipients of the prize in this year. March won the smaller £20 prize for her terracotta statuette entitled 'Mother and Child'.
Descriptions of Practice
Occupation given in Census Returns of England and Wales, 1911
Elsie and the oldest brother were 'Artist Painter', Sydney and Vernon were: 'Sculptor', Percival (born c.1878) 'Artist Craftsman Marble etc.', and brothers Frederick (born c.1881), Dudley (born c.1884) and Walter (born c.1889) all 'Art Craftsmen Metal etc.' the whole family were working on their own account at home
Census Returns of England and Wales, 1891
RG12 piece 3923 folio 148 page 19
Census Returns of England and Wales, 1911
RG14PN3694 RG78PN139 RD42 SD3 ED7 SN79
England & Wales, Death Index: 1916-2007
Name: Elsie March Birth Date: 3 Oct 1884 Date of Registration: Apr-May-Jun 1974 Age at Death: 89 Registration district: Bromley Inferred County: Kent Volume: 11 Page: 1208
England & Wales, FreeBMD Birth Index, 1837-1915
Name: Elsie March Date of Registration: Oct-Nov-Dec 1884 Registration district: Sculcoates Inferred County: Yorkshire East Riding Volume: 9d Page: 164
The Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts, 1861-1989. Volume 3, L-P. A Dictionary of Exhibitors at the Annual Exhibitions of the Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts, 1991 The Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts, 1861-1989
Citing this record
'Elsie March', Mapping the Practice and Profession of Sculpture in Britain and Ireland 1851-1951, University of Glasgow History of Art and HATII, online database 2011 [http://sculpture.gla.ac.uk/view/person.php?id=msib4_1273584785, accessed 30 Jan 2015]