The Gladstone Memorial, St John's Gardens, Liverpool. Sir Thomas Brock (1847-1922). Design submitted, 1899; memorial unveiled, 1904. Bronze on a granite pedestal. [Click on images to enlarge them.]
Gladstone is shown giving a speech, one hand to his lapel, one hand holding some papers, flanked below by winged female figures representing Truth and Justice. Truth grasps what Terry Cavanagh identifies as the Book of Knowledge (173), while Justice has scales and a sword. A brass panel on the front gives Gladstone's full name and the dates and places of his birth and death, and explains that he was buried in Westminster Abbey. A bas-relief at the rear depicts "Brotherhood," with a robed official shaking hands with a bare-chested labourer, while their agreement is witnessed by another figure in the background. The bronze looks patchy because much of its black epoxy paint has now worn away (Cavanagh 174).
Nevertheless, the memorial is impressive. Also, despite the wrangling over its position (see commentary on Birch's statue of Disraeli, to the front of St George's Hall), it seems perfectly placed, overlooking the gardens and town and beyond that the Mersey, as it flows into Liverpool Bay. At the unveiling ceremony, Lord Spencer reminded the people of Liverpool that Gladstone was born and bred in the city, and that "[s]uch an excellent work of art by a 'great sculptor' on a 'splendid site' in a 'great city' was the only fitting tribute to such a man" (Cavanagh 173).
Left: Winged Justice. Right: Winged Truth. [Click on images to enlarge them.]
Other Views and Other Related Material
- Monument from the rear
- Close-up of rear, showing bas-relief, "Brotherhood"
- 62 Rodney Street (Gladstone's birthplace)
Photograph2, caption, and commentary below by Jacqueline Banerjee, 2009. You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.
Cavanagh, Terry. Public Sculpture of Liverpool. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1997.
Last modified 2 February 2009