Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Wood, Shakspere

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WOOD, SHAKSPERE (1827–1886), sculptor, born in Manchester on 13 Nov. 1827, was son of Hamilton Wood of the firm of Wood, Rowell, & Co., smallware manufacturers, of Manchester, by his wife Sarah Anne, daughter of Charles Bennett of Newton Grange. On the break-up of the Manchester business the Wood family removed to London, where the father was connected with the Wood Carving Company until about 1846. Shakspere received a part of his education as a sculptor in the schools of the Royal Academy, and about 1851 he visited Rome for purposes of further study. For some years he worked hard, and exhibited five sculptures at the Royal Academy between 1868 and 1871. From his first settlement in Rome he took a keen interest in the objects of art and antiquity in and around the ancient city, and as years went on these subjects engrossed more and more of his time and attention. He delivered lectures to English visitors, and gave them the benefit of his copious knowledge.

He contributed to the ‘Times,’ at first as an occasional correspondent, and afterwards as its accredited representative. He was singularly successful in winning the confidence not only of the papal government but, even after the establishment of the kingdom of Italy, both of the Vatican and the Quirinal. He died in Rome in February 1886, leaving a widow and children. Wood's statues, Evangeline and Gabriel, were lent for exhibition in Manchester a few years ago by George Clay.

Wood published:

  1. ‘The Vatican Museum of Sculpture; a Lecture delivered before the British Archæological Society of Rome on the 19th of March, 1869,’ Rome, 1869, 8vo.
  2. ‘The Capitoline Museum of Sculpture: a Catalogue,’ Rome, 1872, 8vo.
  3. ‘The New Curiosum Urbis: a Guide to Ancient and Modern Rome,’ London, 1875, 8vo.

His brother, Marshall Wood (d. 1882), sculptor, exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1854 and 1875 twenty-four works, and two at the British Institute. At the academy in 1854 he showed a medallion of Robert Browning and a bust of Miss Helen Grey. In 1864 he was represented at the academy by portrait-busts in marble of the Prince of Wales and the Princess of Wales, and other marble busts. He designed statues of the queen for Melbourne, Sydney, Montreal, Calcutta, and Ottawa. There is also a statue of heroic size in bronze of Richard Cobden in St. Ann's Square, Manchester, but neither as a portrait nor as a work of art can it be considered satisfactory. There is a replica of this statue in Hampstead Road, London. He died in London in August 1882.

[Athenæum, 6 Feb. 1886, p. 208; Manchester City News, 7 Feb. 1885, 13 Feb. 1886, 20 Feb. 1886; Royal Academy Catalogues; Graves's Cat. of Artists; Times, 11 Feb. 1886.]

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