Francis Duke of Bedford statue
Public Art: Francis Duke of Bedford statue
Sculptor : © Sir Richard Westmacott
Description: Francis Russell (23 July 1765 – 2 March
1802) was more than just a British politician, he was also known for his work on agricultural improvements, which
would explain the all agricultural symbols in this bronze statue. The Duke is seen with one hand on a plough, corn
ears in the other and sheep at his feet.
Date Unveiled: 1809
Location: Bloomsbury Square at Bedford Place,
Things You May Not Know About the Duke of Bedford
Though The Duke of Bedford did not live a long life he had a very productive one. After graduating
from Trinity College in Cambridge he spent two years traveling the world. On his return he joined the the Whigs in
the House of Lords, and became a member of the circle of the Prince of Wales and then later George IV. He became
quite the debater and caused a few enemies with his "radical" views.
He was the 5th Duke of Bedford.
Bedford had a fascination with agriculture and established a farm where he experimented with sheep
breeding. He also established a stud at Woburn Abbey where he bred racehorses. Skyscraper (1789), Eager (1788) and
a nameless colt (1794) all went on to win the Epsom Derby. He also bred two Oaks winners, Portia (1788) and Caelia
He became a member of the original Board of Agriculture.
In 1795, when the government introduced a tax on hair powder, Bedford was appalled. So as a form of
protest he ditched the whole powdered and tied hairstyle and went for a cropped look. He then encouraged all of his
friends to follow suit. The hairstyle soon became known as the "Bedford Level" or the "Bedford Crop". So the big
question is, does the statue depict him with the Bedford crop?
Bedford was responsible for much of the development of central Bloomsbury, an area in London
between Euston Road and Holborn. He commissioned James Burton to develop a residential area and Humphry Repton to
design the focal point of the develpment, Russell Square. This where you will find his statue, overlooking his