The sculptor William Theed was born in Staffordshire, his father being a craftsman at Wedgwood. He studied at the Royal Academy Schools, then worked for the sculptor E. H. Baily. Five years on, in 1826, he went to Rome, where he was to stay a total of 22 years, during that time working in the studios of Thorwaldson and John Gibson.
Returning to London in 1848, Theed enjoyed a good reputation, being a favoured sculptor of Queen Victoria, and was commissioned to produce many portrait statues, busts, and large monuments. He showed work in the 1851 Great Exhibition, and among other high points were a group for the Albert Memorial, Hercules and the Thracian Horses for one frontage of Buckingham Palace, and the standing figures on the Inland Revenue side of Somerset House.
As well as these sorts of things, Theed also sculpted various ideal girls - Ruth, Sappho, Diana, Psyche etc, some rather on the coy side, and at least one of these (Musidora) was reproduced in Copeland porcelainware.
Africa for the Albert Memorial.
As well as the works noted above, Theed's statues may be seen in St Paul's (Henry Hallam), Manchester (Monument to Chetham in the Cathedral, and Gladstone and Thomas Bright for the Town Hall, and James Watt in Piccadilly Gardens), Huddersfield (Robert Peel), Winchester (David Williams in the Cathedral), and Prince Albert statues for Grimsby, and in Australia in Macquairie Street, Sydney. He was also responsible for some of the portrait statues on the rear of Burlington House (the former Museum of Mankind).
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