Frederick James Halnon was born in 1881. He began studying at the Goldsmith’s Institute aged only 11 and went on to become modelling master at the same institution, living and working for most of his life in south east London. In 1906, the artist joined the Royal British Society of Sculptors thanks to Alfred Drury’s sponsorship. Francis Derwent-Wood – ten years senior and Royal Sculptor since 1904 – was another fundamental figure in supporting Halnon’s appointment, seconding his nomination.
Halnon was an enthusiast of the New Sculpture movement and greatly admired the work of its initiator and foremost supporter, Frederic Lord Leighton. The artist exhibited a portrait plaque of Leighton in 1906 at the Royal Academy, celebrating the tenth anniversary of his death (1896) and his influence in the development of the plastic arts in late 19th-century Britain.
The large majority of the sculptor’s oeuvre dates to the first two decades of the 20th century, when the artist exhibited at the Royal Academy (London), the Royal Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts and the Royal West of England Academy, among other institutions. In 1923, Halnon became an Associate of the Royal British Society of Sculptors, and a Fellow in 1938. He resigned due to sickness in 1944 and died in March 1958, four days after his 77th birthday.