Richard Cobden,” by Marshall
Wood Richard Cobden,

Richard Cobden. Marshall Wood. 1867. About ten foot or three metres high, bronze, with a polished granite pedestal (see Wyke 125). St Anne's Square, Manchester. Click on images to enlarge them.

Cobden was much admired in radical Manchester, which had long been in the habit of celebrating its heroes with public statuary (see Read 121). The unveiling of the statue was a grand affair, reported in the Times as having attracted crowds of people who packed the square "densely" — others crowded at the windows and even stood on the tops of buildings overlooking the square. From this account we learn that so much money had been subscribed for the monument that enough was left to fund a chair in political science at the Owen's College, and to provide prizes for teachers and pupil-teachers (6). Although Gladstone was unable to be present himself, the ceremony was performed” by the popular Liberal politician George Wilson, former chairman of the Reform League, who did full justice to Cobden in his speech (see Wyke 126).

Image at left from the 1867 Illustrated London News

The Times further reported that the statue itself was Marshall Wood's first portrait (as against ideal) sculpture, and that it was an "exceedingly fine, clear, massive bronze." Cobden, it explained, was meant to be addressing the House of Commons in "an argumentative rather than a declamatory position." The resultant likeness was "pronounced to be exceedingly good" (6).

Related material

Photographs, text and formatting by Jacqueline Banerjee. [You may use these images 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 it in a print one.]


"The Cobden Statue at Manchester." The Times. 23 April 1967: 6. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 13 February 2013.

Read, Benedict. Victorian Sculpture. New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 1982. Print.

“The Statue of Cobden at Manchester.” Illustrated London News (27 April 1867): 421.

Wyke, Terry, with Harry Cocks. Sculpture of Greater Manchester. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2004. Print.

Last modified 28 December 2015