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Statues - Hither & Thither

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North West England

Sefton Park
(Palm House)

Palm House Statues

Léon-Joseph Chavalliaud
E. Gruet jeune (Paris)
ca. 1898

Liverpool /  Palm House Statues


Eight statues by Léon-Joseph Chavalliaud, four in bronze and four in marble, standing on projecting pedestals at each corner of the octagonal Palm House. The subjects, selected and commissioned by Henry Yates Thompson (1838-1929) as a gift to the people of Liverpool, represent pioneers in botanical study or the history of gardening (marble), and discoverers who helped open up the natural world (bronze).

From the entrance anti-clockwise.


apothecary to king james i
born 1567 - died 1650

author of parkinsons paradisus
or the garden of pleasant flowers
london 1629

Modelled from Contemporary Engravings
by L. Chavalliaud London 1807

1. John Parkinson
1567 - 1650
English herbalist and one of the first of the great English botanists


born at oporto 1394 died at sagres 1460
the father of atlantic exploration
the protector of the studies of portugal

his father was john i king of portugal
his mother was philippa daugher of
john of gaunt "time honoured lancaster"

modelled by l chavalliaud
after the statue at belem
messrs. farmer & brindley 1898

2. Henrique o Navegador / Prince Henry the Navigator
Porto, 4 March 1394 - Sagres 13 November 1460
infante (prince) of the Kingdom of Portugal, responsible for the beginning of the European worldwide explorations

Signed: Chavalliaud / London 98 - e gruet jne fondeur / paris


land sighted friday october 12 1492

a castilla y a leon
nuevo mundo dio colon

the discoverer of the americas was
the maker of liverpool

3. Christopher Columbus
(prob. Cogoleto, Republic of Genua, c. 1451 - Valladolid 1506), Italian explorer, who in Spanish service completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of America (see Background Information)..

Signed: Chavalliaud / London 98 - e gruet jne fondeur / paris


Charles Darwin
Born at Shrewsbury 1809 buried in Westminster Abbey 1882
Naturae minister et interpres

4. Charles Darwin
(Shrewsbury 12 February 1809 - Downe 19 April 1882), English naturalist who realised and presented compelling evidence that all species of life have evolved over time from common ancestors (Wikipedia).

Signed: (unreadable).


carl linné born at rashult in south sweden may 1707
died at upsala january 1778
"tantus amor florum"

the lord hath permitted me to
visit his secret council chambers
he hath made me a name like the
name of the great men that are
in the earth

5. Carl von Linné (Linnaeus)
Råshult near Älmhult 1707 - Hammarby estate, Uppsala 1778
Swedish botanist, physician, and zoologist, who laid the foundations for the modern scheme of binomial nomenclature


born 1512 died 1594

the son of a poor shoemaker near antwerp
the father of modern cartography
by mercators projection the navigators
of the succeeding centuries sailed on
their voyages of discovery

6. Gerard Mercator
Rupelmonde 1512 - Duisburg 1594
Map and atlas maker

Signed: e gruet jne fondeur paris.


james cook born in cleveland yorkshire feby 1728
killed by south sea islanders feby 1779
the explorer of australasia

constantly at sea from his
youth he passed through all the
stations belonging to a seaman
from an apprentice boy in the
coal trade to a post captain in
the british navy

7. James Cook
(Marton, Middlesbrough, Yorkshire 1728 - Hawaï 1779), British explorer, navigator and cartographer, famous because of his three voyages to the Pacific Ocean (Wikipedia)..

Signed: e gruet jne fondeur paris.


Andre Le Notre
The most famous of Gardener Architects
Born at Paris 1613 Died at Paris 1700

8. André Le Nôtre
Paris 1613 - id. 1700
French landscape architect and the principal gardener of King Louis XIV of France

Signed: e gruet jne fondeur paris.

The Palm House re-opened September 2001. The statues were renovated at the Merseyside Conservation Centre.

Henry Yates Thomson explained in a speech of 17 October 1901 why he had selected the specific statues and the inscriptions:

All towns have statues – public statues; but, as far as I know, they are generally confined to statues of kings and queens, such as George III and Queen Victoria here; or admirals and generals, such as Nelson and Wellington here; or local worthies. In thinking over the Liverpool statues – I dare say my recollection is not quite complete – I can only think of Lord Beaconsfield, Michael Angelo, and Raphael, who do not come into those categories. In my little building at Sefton Park I endeavoured to make a sort of Valhalla to those not included in these categoriesl and endeavoured to make the people of Liverpool, and especially the younger people, acquainted with men who were at the head of their profession in various ways, not only in Liverpool of in England, but all the world over.

This being a garden park, I thought the first people to be ennobled, as far as I could do it, would be gardeners. The name of the first of these, John Parkinson, is not perhaps very familiar to you. It has not been long familiar to myself, and his statue is really there because your old townsman, Mr. Enoch Harvey, a great gardener himself, told me of his merits, and of the fact that he was the author of the first book in which flowers and plants in a garden were dealt with, not for their medical virtues, but for their beauty and scent. That was the first work of the sort, and I strongly recommend anybody who may have the opportunity to peruse it. Thus I thought that I would put him first in the list of gardeners, and there he stands in the Elizabethan costume – he was apothecary to James I – and the sculptor, being eminently practical, has also clothed him with an apron to protect his costume from the soil and dust. Well, various other gardeners are there. Andrew Le Notre is there, and when I was in Paris I saw M. Andre, the man who laid out Sefton Park, and he told me that Le Notre was a gardener-architect, and therefore he is described as such.

Having got through the list of gardeners, I thought the explorers should come in – men by whose discoveries of new plants the labour of botanists has been greatly extended. Now, any little Liverpool boy going into the park may find some inspiration in a figure in bronzze of the great Captain Cook, clad in the costume of the Navy of a previous century, and may spell out with some edification an inscription which states that James Cook was constantly at sea from his youth, and that he filled every post and every station of a seaman, from an apprentice in the coal trade to post captain in the British Navy. I think that completes what I have to say about the statues, except that one still remains to be added, and perhaps the most important of all, and perhaps the most suggestive of Liverpool. I mean the noble Genoese navigator who discovered America, and who may be said, therefore, to have been the founder of Liverpool in its great development of American trade. His portrait was very difficult to get, not because there were not many portraits, but because none of them resembled the other. My artist has done the best he could, but whether the features are like or not, the attitude is significant, because he is represented looking to the West, with his hands over his eyes, scanning the distant horizon to see if possible that great continent which ought to have borne his name. His motto I shall take, with your permission, from an inscription in Spanish at Seville, which I saw long ago, the translation of which means, "Columbus, o'er the Atlantic main, found a new world for glorious Spain." His bones were recently carried from Havanna, where they were refound, to a final and more fitting restingplace in Seville Cathedral and there, I hope, they will no longer be disturbed, because that is the most appropriate final restingplace for them; but I cannot imagine a more appropriate place for his statue than Liverpool.

(From an unattributed photocopy in the WAG JCS files) (Quoted after Public sculpture of Liverpool).


Sources & Information


  • Chavalliaud, Léon-Joseph
  • Columbus, Christopher
  • Cook, James
  • Darwin, Charles
  • Explorer
  • Gallery of Honor
  • Gardener
  • Gruet jeune (Paris), E.
  • Henry the Navigator, Prince
  • Landscape architect
  • Le Notre, André
  • Linné (Linnaeus), Carl von
  • Mercator, Gerard
  • Naturalist
  • Parkinson, John
  • Statue (Columbus)
  • Statue (man)
  • Locatie (N 53°22'52" - W 2°56'6") (Satellite view: Google Maps)

    Item Code: gbnw002; Photograph: 23 October 2009  / updated: 23 November 2016
    Of each statue we made photos from various angles and also detail photos of the various texts.
    If you want to use photos, please contact us via the contact form (in Dutch, English or German).
    © Website and photos: René & Peter van der Krogt

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