Neoclassical sculptor, part of an English family of sculptors. They were leading sculptors of funerary monuments in the 18th and 19th centuries and also specialized in chimney-pieces and other forms of architectural sculpture.
The son of a sculptor also called Richard (1747-1808), he trained first under his father and then in Rome under Canova
(1793-97). After his return to London, he soon had a very large practice, second only to Chantrey.
His best-known work is the huge Achilles statue (unveiled 1822) in Hyde Park; it honours the Duke of Wellington and is made of bronze 33 tons from captured French cannon. At the time the figure s conspicuous nudity was considered shocking or amusing, especially considering it had been paid for by a group of lady subscribers. Westmacott also did the pediment sculpture on the British Museum (finished 1847). His work is dignified but often rather pedestrian and dead in handling. He was Professor of Sculpture at the Royal Academy from 1827 to 1854. Two of his brothers, George (active 1799-1827) and Henry (1784-1861), were sculptors, as was his son, another Richard Westmacott (1799-1872).
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