Sir George James Frampton was born in London in 1860, the son of James Frampton – a wood and stone carver. At the age of 18, confident of the experience gained in his father’s workshop, the artist moved to Paris to work on the building site of the Hôtel de Ville. He returned to London shortly after, studying at the Lambeth School of Art under W.S. Frith and then at the Royal Academy from 1881 to 1887.
Having exhibited at the RA for the first time in 1884, Frampton went on to win a gold medal and a travelling scholarship in 1887. Part of his travels took him to Paris, where he enrolled in the studio of one of the most successful sculptors in France, Antonin Mercié (1845-1916).
Mercié’s work had been the inspiration for many of the English ‘New’ sculptors, and particularly for the early work of Alfred Gilbert. During Frampton’s apprenticeship, Mercié was instrumental for introducing the artist to the French Romantic movement, as well as to the intricacies of Symbolism, which were to become a key feature of the artist’s later work.