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Public Statues and Sculpture Association

William Calder Marshall (1813–1894)

Sculptor, born in Edinburgh, the son of a goldsmith. Marshall began his art studies at the Trustees’ Academy in 1830, and in 1834 moved to London, where he worked in the studios of Francis Chantrey and Edward Hodges Baily. On Chantrey’s recommendation, Marshall was accepted by the Royal Academy (RA) Schools in 1834, winning a silver medal in 1835. He studied in Rome, 1836–38, and in 1839 settled permanently in London. He showed at the RA 1835–91 (elected Associate Royal Academician 1844 and full RA 1852); the British Institution, 1839–57; and the Royal Scottish Academy, 1836–91 (elected Associate Royal Scottish Academician in 1840, resigned when elected to the RA, made an honorary member at a later date). In 1844 he submitted statues of Geoffrey Chaucer and Eve to the Westminster Hall competition, on the basis of which he was awarded commissions for statues of Lord Clarendon, 1847, and John, Baron Somers, 1855 (erected in St Stephen’s Hall). In 1857, despite winning the £700 first prize for his design for the Wellington Monument for St Paul’s Cathedral, he was ultimately commissioned to execute only the series of reliefs for the Wellington Chapel (the commission for the monument going instead to Alfred Stevens). In 1878, Marshall was nominated a Chevalier of the Legion d’honneur in recognition of his services as a commissioner at that year’s Paris Exposition Universelle. He executed many ideal works, including Hero and Leander, 1839 (for the Art Union); Hebe Rejected, 1837 (National Gallery of Scotland); The First Whisper of Love, 1845, and Sabrina, 1847 (both Royal Dublin Society); Infant Satyr, 1845–49 (diploma work, RA, Burlington House); Griselda, 1853–55 (Mansion House, City of London); Undine, 1863 (Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool); and Stepping Stones, 1880 (Salford Art Gallery). His most important public commissions include statues of Sir Robert Peel, 1853, Manchester; Thomas Campbell, 1848 (installed 1855), Westminster Abbey; Samuel Crompton, 1862, Bolton; the ‘Agriculture’ group for the Albert Memorial; and a pedimental group for Bolton Town Hall, 1870. A self-portrait bust (c.1838) is in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. Following Marshall’s death in 1894, his executors staged an exhibition of his works in his studio at 115 Ebury Street, Pimlico. Archival material on the sculptor is held in the RA archives (‘William Calder Marshall papers’ 12 volumes, 1835–81, ref. MAR) and the Henry Moore Institute (refs. 1992.55 and 1997.32).

Bibliography: T. Cavanagh, Public Sculpture of Kensington and Chelsea with Westminster South-West, Watford, 2023, pp. xvii, xviii, 164, 388–95, 414, 424, 425, 428, 429, 431, 433, 436; T. Cavanagh, Public Sculpture of South London, Liverpool, 2007, pp. 304–06, 348, 349; M. Greenwood, ‘Marshall, William Calder (1813–1894)’, ODNB, Oxford, 2004; Mapping Sculpture; I. Roscoe et al, A Biographical Dictionary of Sculptors in Britain 1660–1851, New Haven and London, 2009; Royal Academy of Arts website; P. Ward-Jackson, Public Sculpture of the City of London, Liverpool, 2003, pp. 246–47, 399–401; P. Ward-Jackson, Public Sculpture of Historic Westminster. Volume 1, Liverpool, 2011, pp. xxxv, 117, 182, 188, 270; D. White and E. Norman, Public Sculpture of Sheffield and South Yorkshire, Liverpool, 2015, pp. 264–65.

Terry Cavanagh November 2022

Marshall, William Calder

William Calder Marshall, Ralph Winwood Robinson,
c. 1889, published by C. Whittingham & Co, 1892,
platinum print (photo: © National Portrait Gallery, London)