Herbert Hampton was born in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, in 1862. He first studied in Wales, at the Cardiff School of Art, and eventually moved to London to complete his courses at the Lambeth, Westminster and Slade School of Art.
In London, Hampton found a stimulating artistic environment. The efforts and achievements of the first generation of ‘New’ sculptors had raised the status of the subject in England and by the early 1890s the artist could count on a solid visual background created by the works of Alfred Gilbert, Edward Onslow-Ford and Hamo Thornycroft, which enjoyed widespread public appreciation.
Having completed his courses in London, Hampton moved to France, enrolling at the famous Académie Colarossi and Académie Julian. These institutions favoured drawing from life and focused on modelling, influencing Hampton’s later production.
Upon his return to London, Hampton became a sought-after sculptor of monuments both in the Britain and abroad. In England, the most important of his public sculptures are the Queen Victoria Memorial (1906) and the Ashton Memorial (1907-1909), both in Lancaster, and the four-meter tall Statue of the Duke of Devonshire, which was unveiled in 1911 at Whitehall, London. In 1905, he produced the Queen Victoria Memorial for the Queen’s Gardens in Dunedin (New Zealand). Between 1910 and 1915, two stone busts to Sir Guy Fleetwood Wilson and Sir John Jenkins were sculpted and sent to New Delhi, where they can still be seen today.
As well as public monuments, Hampton was also famed for his portrait sculpture, which he exhibited extensively in Glasgow, Cardiff, Dublin, London and Liverpool. The most important of such works are the portrait of Edward Carlile (1913), now part of the National Gallery of Victoria (Melbourne) and the statue of Robert Burns, now at the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki (New Zealand).