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Public Statues and Sculpture Association

Patric Park (1811–1855)

Sculptor, born in Glasgow, the son of a mason, he served as an apprentice stonecutter on the construction of Hamilton Palace (now demolished), where he carved the Hamilton family arms over the main entrance. Under the Duke of Hamilton’s patronage he travelled to Rome at the age of twenty, studying for two years with Bertel Thorwaldsen, from whom he acquired a vigorous and expressive style and a taste for the heroic nude. He returned to the UK in 1833, settling first in Edinburgh and then in London, where he established a high reputation as a portraitist, counting many leading contemporary figures among his subjects, including Lord Macaulay (Royal Academy 1836; marble, 1843, Wallington, Northumberland), Lord Jeffrey (Royal Scottish Academy [RSA] 1840; National Portrait Gallery), Charles Dickens (RSA 1842), and Napoleon III (1855; Victoria and Albert Museum). A perceptive writer on sculpture and other aspects of art, he was also frequently involved in controversy. In 1846, the Art Union rejected his statue of Modesty Unveiled as too sensual to be used as a competition prize, and in the same year he became entangled in a dispute over a group of statues he had modelled for the Scott Monument, Edinburgh, but which were never used. Further difficulties arose over his private undertaking to raise a fifteen-foot (4.57m) statue of William Wallace in Edinburgh, the failure of which left him financially compromised. In 1852, he moved to Manchester, where he died of a haemorrhage after trying to help a porter lift a large hamper of ice in Warrington station.

Bibliography: T. Cavanagh, Public Sculpture of Liverpool, Liverpool, 1997, pp. 203, 204; J.M. Gray (rev. D. King), ‘Park, Patric’, ODNB, 2004; R. McKenzie, Public Sculpture of Edinburgh (2 vols), Liverpool, 2018, vol. 1, pp. 129, 308, 355, 358, vol. 2, pp. 242, 256, 258, 262, 305, 519, 520; R. McKenzie, Public Sculpture of Glasgow, Liverpool, 2002, p. 300; T. Wyke, Public Sculpture of Greater Manchester, Liverpool, 2004, p. 134.

Ray McKenzie 2018

Park, Patric

Kenneth McLeay, Patric Park, posthumous portrait, 1859, watercolour on paper, Scottish National Portrait Gallery (photo: public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)