Public Art Research Archive, Sheffield Hallam University

Mario Raggi
'Vulcan', 1897
On top of the Town Hall, Sheffield

On top of the Town Hall, Sheffield S1. (A-Z p5 4E)

Large nude figure with a hammer in his right hand and arrows in his left, which is held aloft. His right foot is resting on an anvil. Although all accounts give the weight of the piece as 18 cwt, the height is a matter of contention; 7 feet, 9 feet 7 inches and 11 feet 6 inches are all put forward. The figure for the statue was modelled by a Life Guardsman.

Sheffield Town Council. Vulcan has for a long time been associated with the city and appears as a supporter to the City’s coat of arms. See Sylvia Pybus’s book (below) for a histo

ry of Vulcan and Sheffield. At Queen Victoria’s opening of the Town Hall (May 21, 1897) a searchlight was attached to Vulcan’s hand.

This piece was the inspiration for Ian Cooper’s ‘Vulcan’, in Graves Park. In 1926 funds were raised for Sheffield Hospitals when a telescope was set up in Barker’s pool and 1d charged to view the statue. There were on average about 2,400 viewers per day. The statue has been used by local press as an emblem either on the front page or above a particular regular feature. After the second airraid in December 1940, the 16th December edition of local newspaper, The Star, had a drawing of the statue on its front page and the word ‘DEFIANT!’.
Mario Raggi is also known as Rassi or Razzi. His statue of Disraeli stands in Parliament Square, London, and was unveiled in 1883. The anniversary of Disraeli's death, April 19th, became known as Primrose Day and his statue was festooned with these flowers annually. This attention may have been influential in his selection for this commission.

Much of this information can be found in ‘Vulcan from Mount Olympus to Sheffield’ by Sylvia Pybus (1997) Hammer & Tongs Publication.

Other pieces on Vulcan in the city

More images of this piece

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Last updated September 5, 2006