Francis Duke of Bedford statue

 Francis Duke of Bedford statue, London, Public art, Sir Richard Westmacott

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, London, England

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 (1790).

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 achievement.

Duke of Bedford statue, london, public art

Francis Duke of Bedford, Russell Square, London, public art

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