Henry Weekes RA (1807-1877)

Manufactures for the Albert Memorial, by Weekes.

The sculptor Henry Weekes was born in Canterbury, became apprenticed to Behnes in 1822, and in 1823 entered the RA Schools. In 1827 he became an assistant to Chantrey. This proved a good move, as on the death of that famous sculptor, Weekes took over his studio, and finished off some of his master's incomplete statues - an instant route to respectability. One of these works was the Wellington by the Royal Exchange in London.

Weekes developed a speciality in portrait sculpture, including producing the first (1838) bust of Victoria after she became queen. As well as many other portraits, he also designed full figures, e.g. Charles II for the House of Lords, and monuments, including that of Shelley at Prior Church, Christchurch, Hants, and Bishop Sumner at Winchester.

Weekes exhibited at the Academy from 1828, and became ARA in 1850. In 1862 he showed The Young Naturalist at the International Exhibition, and in the same year he was elected RA. Another triumph came in 1864, when he sculpted the Manufacturers group of the Albert Memorial (see the Walk in Hyde Park). He was the Professor of Sculpture at the Academy from 1868/9 until 1876.

Works by Weekes may also be seen in Canterbury.

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