Achilles Statue London: 19th century recycled French Canons

The 33 ton bronze statue by Sir Richard Westmacott (located in the south east corner of the park) was erected in 1822 by the swooning “Women of England” and, cheekily, was the city’s first nude monument. Strangely, the muscled vision of manhood it depicts is of neither Wellington nor Achilles, but is actually based on a statue of a horse-tamer in the Piazza del Quirinale in Rome. The bronze was salvaged from captured French canon, and a fig leaf addition was later added to “preserve public decency”.

Wellington-mania swept across London during the first half of the nineteenth century; this colossal figure was the first of many public celebrations of the Iron Duke. He was indeed the celebrity mega-star of his day.

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