1926 X49 CSJ 1926

'War seldom produces great artists. it more often destroys them.

The Great War provided an exception in the case of Charles Sargeant Jagger A.R.A. No artist has ever held up a mirror more ruthlessly to man's ruthlessness. No country has given the world a more uncompromising interpreter of the terrors that stalked in the trenches.'

CSJ BY Paul Laib NPG


Charles working in his London studio 1926

Charles photographed by Paul Laib 1928

Relief panel for the Cambrai Memorial 1930

Charles Sargeant Jagger (1885-1934)


Charles left school aged fourteen and was apprenticed to Mappin & Webb as a silver engraver. As part of his apprenticeship he was allowed to study art part-time. This applied arts and craft grounding led towards his ultimate goal, that of becoming a sculptor. During his time at Sheffield Technical School of Art (1899-1908) he consistently won awards, which culminated in his appointed as Master for Metal Engraving at the age of eighteen. A scholarship to study sculpture at the Royal College of Art in London followed within a year.


On completing his studies in London he won a further scholarship to study at the British School at Rome, which he immediaitely relinquished at the outbreak of the war in 1914. He enlisted with the Artist's Rifles and was commissioned into the Worcester Regiment. He witnessed the absolute hell of war, being shot through the shoulder at Gallipoli (1915) and later gassed in the trenches and wounded again in Flanders (1918), for his gallantry he was awarded the Military Cross. In the final months of the war he was appointed an Official War Artist by the Ministry of Information.


War proved to be the making of him as a sculptor, his first-hand experiences fuelled his art and he quickly established himself as the premier British sculptor of his era. Most of the 1920's were spent addressing the never-ending demand for war memorials across the nation, Europe and beyond. A series of high profile commissions culminated in his masterpeice, the Royal Artillery Memorial (1925) located at Hyde Park Corner, London. He was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy of Arts (1926), Fellow of the Royal Society of British Sculptors (1923), winning their Gold Medal twice (1926 & 1933). Notable private commissions followed, however this success came at a heavy price. Being a workaholic, his relentless work rate and old war wounds contributed towards his untimely early death in 1934. A comprehensive memorial exhibition was arranged by a group of his patrons, the exhibtion 'Charles Sargeant Jagger - War & Peace' was arranged for London alone, but such was the demand it toured Britian until 1937.