Tyne and Wear HER(7888): Newcastle, Sandhill, statue of James II - Details
Newcastle, Sandhill, statue of James II
Gardens Parks and Urban Spaces
The was a "most beautiful equestrian statue" of James II erected in front of the exchange (Guildhall) in Sandhill. It was cast in copper and was the same size as the famous equestrian statue of Charles I at Charing Cross, London. The horse stood raised upon its hind feet. The king was cloathed in a coat of mail, booted and gauntleted. By his side hung a sword. In his right hand he held the truncheon, in his left the bridle. He wore a wig and a laurel wreath. The pedestal of the statue was white Italian marble, 14ft high, stood on a black polished marble base. On one side of the pedestal was a brass relief of the king's successes in battle, on the other the town's arms, the names of the mayor, recorder and sheriff. Surrounding the statue were iron palisades. The statue was the work of Mr. William Larson, approved by Sir Christopher Wren. It cost the town £800. In November 1688 the statue was demolished "by the mob" and the ststue and horse turned into the river. Later it was cast into a set of bells (common-counicl books of 1695 record requests from All Saints parish and St. Andrew's parish). This information is from Bourne and Brand, but according to the Local Historians' Table Book of 1841, there are strong grounds however to suggest that the statue was never put up as no payment occurs in the books of the corporation of Newcastle for the marble pedestal or the iron palisades. Rather the mob may have turned it into the river shortly after the statue was delivered to the quayside ready for erection.
Bourne and Brand, Local Historian's Table Book 1841, Vol 1, pp 320-322; Paul Usherwood, Jeremy Beach and Catherine Morris, 2000, Public Sculpture of North-East England, p 219