Sir Merton Russell-Cotes (1835-1921), JRFRGS, Mayor of Bournemouth (1891–1895)
Merton and Annie Russell-Cotes travelled to many countries. It had been suggested by a friend that when they were in Rome that they commissioned busts of themselves in marble. In his autobiography, Home and Abroad, Merton records ‘We … made the necessary arrangements with Signor Gazzeri, a sculptor of considerable fame to execute the work for us.’
The sculptor Ernesto Gazzeri was an Italian and was known for the monument to the philosopher Tommaso Campanella. Born in Modena in 1866, Ernesto Gazzeri later moved to Rome where, inspired by his classical surroundings he became a marble sculptor of repute. Gazzeri exhibited at the Italian Exhibition organized at Earl’s Court in London in 1888 and at the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1904. He was known for sculptural portraits and funerary monuments, among them ‘The Mystery of Life’ a piece of statuary consisting of eighteen full sized figures depicting people at different stages of life, made in Italy and shipped out to Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Southern California in 1928. He also executed genre works and mythological subjects. He lived in California from 1928-1934.