Neville Northy BURNARD


Altarnum-born, he only came further west than Falmouth to end his days in Redruth workhouse. In Altarnum he began carving with local materials - Delabole slate and 'Cornish marble' - and entered pieces for exhibitions at the Royal Polytechnic Society at Falmouth, winning Bronze medals, and a Silver for his Laocoon.

The president of the RCPS, Sir Charles Lemon MP, introduced Burnard to Sir Francis Chantrey, London's most famous sculptor who in turn introduced him to London Society and later to Queen Victoria, to sculpt a bust of the six-year old Prince of Wales.

In London, Burnard was employed initially as a carver for Henry Weekes, and also assisted Chantrey. By 1841 he was an independent sculptor with a studio and an established reputation. At the death of his daughter, however, he drowned his sorrows in drink and lost his wife and family in his disintegration.  He returned to Cornwall, and literally became a wandering tramp and homeless person. Taken finally to the Redruth workhouse, he died there, and was buried in an unmarked grave in Camborne cemetery.

In 1954, the Old Cornwall Society righted this oversight with a slate memorial to the sculptor, remembered as one of Cornwall's most outstanding.