Wolverhampton sculpture - introduction

Wolverhampton has a compact city centre containing good Victorian buildings and some fine statues and other sculpture. Conveniently for the visitor, the sculptural interest is mostly located in two areas:

What can we see? Inside St Peter’s Collegiate Church (which is the size of a small Cathedral and has excellent ambience) is a very good collection of monuments, including 16th Century chest tombs with recumbent figures, an excellent early 17th Century statue of Vice Admiral Richard Leveson, by the eminent sculptor Le Sueur, and a variety of 18th and 19th Century wall panels. The important Victorian sculptor Thomas Thornycroft made a portrait of his father, George Benjamin Thorneycroft, first mayor of Wolverhampton, is to be found in the Church (the change of spelling from Thorneycroft to Thornycroft seems to have occurred between father and son). There is also a 15th Century pulpit, quite remarkable, with a sculpture of a lion on the banister, and good stained glass from the end of the 19th Century. In the gardens around the Church is a Saxon Cross – incredibly rare and a privilege to see – and various pieces of 19th and 20th Century sculpture. The Art Gallery, on one side of the gardens, by the Victorian architect J. A. Chatwin of Birmingham, has frieze panels depicting the Arts etc by the sculptor Richard Boulton, facing the Church and the main road (Lichfield Street).

Down the road in Queen Square is our second collection of Wolverhampton statuary, centred on another, key work by Thomas Thornycroft, his statue of Prince Albert on horseback. Also there we can see a pair of allegorical figures in stone above the door of a bank, and further sculptural friezes on the frontage of another bank, also due to Chatwin and Boulton.

Still in the same area, up North Street leading off Queen Square is the Old Town Hall, and walking along Lichfield Street and down Queen Street allows us to see several showpiece buildings, mostly from Victorian times. Among various splendid buildings elsewhere in the centre, we should note Wolverhampton’s second church, St John’s Church in the Square, late 18th Century, with a modest collection of monuments which introduce us to the work of a local company of monumental masons: Wilmot of Wolverhampton.

Wolverhampton is at one end of the convenient Metro which runs to Bilston, with an interesting church, to Wednesbury, with a better one, so far as monuments are concerned, and thence on to Birmingham, which is the subject of several pages on this site.

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St Peter's Church // St Peter's Gardens // Queen Square sculpture // St John's Church in the Square // Leveson statue

St Bartholomew's Church in Wednesbury // Birmingham sculpture // Sculpture in other towns in England

Wilmot of Wolverhampton // Thomas Thornycroft // Other sculptors


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