William III

I took a different route to work yesterday and stopped to admire the equestrian statue of William III which sits on a grass traffic island in the middle of St. James’s Square.   I couldn’t understand why it was that such a grand statue had been erected to his memory nearly a century after his reign.   The answer is that a statue was first planned in 1697 when ‘the kings statue in brasse’ was ‘ordered to be sett up in St. James’s square, with several devices and mottoes trampling down popery, breaking the chsins of bondage, slavery, etc.’   Then it was going to be a statue of George I.   In 1724, money was bequeathed by Samuel Travers for an equestrian statue of William III, still of recent memory.   It was eventually commissioned by the Trustees of the Square in 1794 and sketches were made by John Bacon Senior.   He died in 1799 and the finished work is by his son, John Bacon Junior, probably based on the sketches or a model made by his father:-

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