Skip to main content

Public Statues and Sculpture Association

Richard Westmacott III (1799–1872)

Sculptor. The eldest son of the sculptor, Sir Richard Westmacott. In his youth he wanted to become a barrister, but was persuaded by his father to take up sculpture. He studied with his father and at the Royal Academy, which he entered in 1818. He then spent six years, from 1820, in Rome. The contents of his sketchbooks indicate that in Italy he was as interested in the art of the early Renaissance as in the remnants of Antiquity. The younger Westmacott executed hardly any free-standing imaginary sculpture. His output consists almost entirely of portrait busts and church monuments. The latter were conceived mostly in a pietistic vein, though on occasion, as in the reclining effigy of Philip, 3rd Earl of Hardwicke, at Wimpole, Cambridgeshire (c.1844), the sculptor could make an elaborate display of ceremonial costume. By far his most important commission was that for the pediment of William Tite’s new Royal Exchange in the City of London (1842–44), a tympanum sculpture inscribed ‘The Earth is the Lord’s and the Fulness Thereof’, representing the City of London presiding over groups personifying world trade (illustrated and described in the Illustrated London News, 17 February 1844, p. 104). Westmacott was elected ARA in 1838 and full RA in 1849, his Diploma Work, a marble relief, ‘Go: and sin no more’. In 1857 he succeeded his father as Professor of Sculpture in the Royal Academy.

Bibliography: Art Journal, 1872, p.167 (obit.); Builder, 1872, p. 380 (obit.); T. Cavanagh, Public Sculpture of Kensington and Chelsea with Westminster South-West, Watford, 2023, pp. xiv, xvi, 227, 288, 301, 352, 356; C. Dodgson (rev. M. Busco), ‘Westmacott, Richard (1799–1872)’, ODNB, 2004; Mapping Sculpture; E. Morris and E. Roberts, Public Sculpture of Cheshire and Merseyside, Liverpool, 2012, pp. xxii, 142, 143, 168–69, 214; G.T. Noszlopy and F. Waterhouse, Public Sculpture of Herefordshire, Shropshire and Worcestershire, Liverpool, 2010, pp. 233–35; I. Roscoe et al, A Biographical Dictionary of Sculptors in Britain 1660–1851, New Haven and London, 2009, pp. 1366–71; Royal Academy of Arts: ‘Richard Westmacott the Younger RA (1799–1872)’; P. Ward-Jackson, Public Sculpture of the City of London, Liverpool, 2003, pp. xxi–xxii, 317, 318–21, 333.

Philip Ward-Jackson, May 2024

Westmacott, Richard, III

Richard Westmacott the Younger, albumen carte-de-visite by John Watkins, late 1860s–early 1870s, NPG Ax14824 (photo: © National Portrait Gallery, London)