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Public Statues and Sculpture Association

William Wright of Charing Cross (d. 1654)

Wright is first recorded living in the parish of St Martin in the Fields, Westminster, 1607–08. Although he initially trained as a haberdasher, by 1608 he is documented collaborating with John Key on the monument to Sir William Paston for North Walsham, Norfolk. Documents show that Wright resided, and ran his own workshop, at or near Charing Cross until his death. His monuments from the earlier part of his career adhere to the convention of recumbent or kneeling figures housed within architectural settings designed to impress, although, as Adam White has pointed out, Wright was ‘at best semi-literate in the vocabulary of classical architecture, with little idea how to use it either decoratively or structurally, perhaps because he lacked the mason’s training which was normal for London sculptors of his time’. Wright nevertheless ran a successful workshop and became renowned in the latter part of his career for his shroud tombs, a notable example attributed to him by White being that to Sara Colvile (d. 1632), Chelsea Old Church.

Bibliography: T. Cavanagh, Public Sculpture of Kensington and Chelsea with Westminster South-West, Watford, 2023, pp. 71–73; A. White, Biographical Dictionary of London Tomb Sculptors (Walpole Society, vol. 61, 1999, pp. 1–162), pp. 144–55.

Terry Cavanagh December 2022