Pitt the Younger

In walking through Hanover Square recently, my eye was caught by the stately statue of William Pitt looking south towards St. George’s.   I should have guessed (or known) without reading the inscription on the side0 that it’s the work of Francis Chantrey, who made a fortune from this form of commemorative work and left his estate to the Royal Academy for the purchase of paintings for the National collection.   It was one of the first works to be cast in Chantrey’s own foundry close to his studio in Eccleston Place.   It’s a different view of Pitt from the well known bust by Nollekens:  more heroic, showing him as a great statesman and belonging to the vocabulary of national celebration in the years after Waterloo.   Efforts were made to destroy it the day after it was installed in 1831 by a mob campaigning for the Reform Bill.   It’s hard to imagine this statue of Pitt inspiring such wrath:





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