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North West England

Grosvenor Park

Richard Grosvenor

Richard Grosvenor, 2nd Marquess of Westminster
Westminster, London 1795 - Gifford, Wiltshire 1869
English politician, landowner, property developer and benefactor.
Thomas Thornycroft

Chester /  Richard Grosvenor   Chester /  Richard Grosvenor


Marble statue of the 2nd Marquess of Westminster in the robes of the Order of the Garter.
The Grosvenor Park was a gift of the Marquess of Westminster.

… the statue was entrusted to the skill of Mr. Thornycroft, who after two and half years has produced the largest marble statue ever sculptured in England. It hard white marble and stands 12ft. high. It represents the noble Marquess as a Knigbt the Order the Garter, and the likeness is acknowledged by all to be remarkably truthful. The attitude is easy and natural, and withal impressive. The expression in the face is one of mild benevolence – a happy thought on the part of the clever sculptor (Northwich Guardian).

The statue was unveiled on 1 July 1869 by the sculptor, after which the chairman of the Testimonial Comittee, handed it over to the city. "The ceremony did not occupy quite half an hour, because, according to the wish of the Marquess, the ceremony was "at privately as possible."

A few months after its unveiling, the construction of the statue was found to be faulty, as the Chester Courant wrote on 24 November 1869:

Flaw in the Westminster statue. – Everybody will regret to hear that a flaw has been discovered in the noble marble statue of the late Marquess of Westminster in the Grosvenor Park. A crack is now visible in the figure, beginning on the left breast and extending over the shoulder and for some distance down the back. It looks as though the statue is not, after all, out of a solid block of marble, but that a piece has been let into it, at the place where the disfigurement appears.

The sculptor was called to account by the city council (Cheshire Observer, 15 January 1870):

The Town Clerk read the correspondence which had passed between himself and Mr. Thorneycroft, and the proceedings of the sub-committee appointed by the subscribers, with reference to the flaw in the Westminster Statue. It appeared that Mr. Thorneycroft had met the committee and inspected the statue with them, and in reply to the objection that the insertion of a piece in the left shoulder necessarily disfigured the statue, explained that the insertion of the block had been occasioned by the discovering of a flaw in the marble, and that the insertion of blocks under such circumstances was a common and usual circumstance among sculptors. In fact he was now completing several statues in which similar blocks were inserted.
The committee had then informed Mr. Thorneycroft that whether such was the case or not they considered if faith had been kept, it was the duty of Mr. Thorneycroft to have communicated with the committee, and at the interview it was unanimously resolved that Mr. Thorneycroft should do what was necessary to put the statue into a proper state, and to give an undertaking to the committee to do what was necessary for the future protection of the work.
At a meeting of the committee held on the 1st January, Mr. Thorneycroft undertook to do what the committee required, but considered their reflection upon him as unjust, stating that if he had considered it judicious to have tried a second block of marble, he could have done so without any additional cost to himself as it was in his contract that he was to be supplied with a fresh block of marble, free, in case the one he first received did not answer his purpose; but he found the defect in the present block could be easily remedied, and he would have considered it absurd to reject a block for which he had been waiting 18 months, and which was very good in other respects merely because it contained a slight flaw. Moreover the late Marquess had expressed to him his great desire that the statue should be finished in his life-time. Fortunately he acted on that desire, for had he not done so probably he might have been waiting till the present time, for the quarries did not yield blocks of marble of that size every day.
Mr. Bowers said the conclusion to which the committee had arrived was not the one which they exactly liked, but one for which there was no help. It appeared the flaw was discovered almost immediately the work was commenced, and clearly he thought it was Mr. Thorneycroft's duty to have communicated this fact to the committee, and he believed that for any strong feelings which had been expressed in the matter, Mr. Thorneycroft had only himself to thank, for they might very fairly say that it was exceedingly absurd of him to try and throw dust in the committee's eyes on the way he bad done.
Mr. Farish said that it was an exceedingly painful subject. There was no question, but that it was one of the finest monuments which had ever been put up within many miles of Chester, and that it should be marked in this way was a very serious thing, and it was also a serious thing for the reputation of a gentleman of such a standing as Mr. Thorneycroft. The committee and the subscribers had all expressed their dissatisfaction and perhaps they had better not say much more about it.
Alderman Roberts expressed himself as very much dissatisfied with the results which had been brought before them that day.

It is not clear what solution was arrived at; there was nothing more about it in the newspapers.


second marquis of westminster

the generous landlord
the friend of all the distressed
the helper of all good works
the benefactor to this city

erected by his tenants, friends and neighbours
a.d. 1869


Sources & Information


Locatie (N 53°11'23" - W 2°52'51") (Satellite view: Google Maps)

Item Code: gbnw142; Photograph: 25 June 2023
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© Website and photos: René & Peter van der Krogt

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