Sir Richard Westmacott

(1775—1856) sculptor

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(b London, 15 July 1775; d London, 1 Sept. 1856).

English Neoclassical sculptor. The son of a sculptor also called Richard (1747–1808), he trained first under his father and then from 1793 to 1796 in Rome, where he worked in Canova's studio. After his return to London, he soon had a very large practice, second only to Chantrey's. His best-known work is the huge Achilles statue (unveiled 1822) in Hyde Park; it honours the Duke of Wellington and is made of bronze from French cannon captured during his campaigns. At the time the figure's conspicuous nudity was considered shocking or amusing, especially considering it had been paid for by a group of lady subscribers. His last major work was the group of the Progress of Civilization on the pediment of the British Museum (installed 1851). His work is dignified but often rather pedestrian in handling. He was professor of sculpture at the Royal Academy from 1827 to 1854. Two of his brothers, George (active 1799–1827) and Henry (1784–1861), were sculptors, as was his son, another RichardWestmacott (1799–1872). See also Marcus Aurelius.

Subjects: Art.

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