Weekes, Henry (DNB00)


WEEKES, HENRY (1807–1877), sculptor, was born at Canterbury in 1807. After serving an apprenticeship of five years with William Behnes [q. v.] and studying in the schools of the Royal Academy, he became an assistant to Sir Francis Legatt Chantrey [q. v.] On the death of the latter in 1842 Weekes carried out many of his commissions, and took over his studio in Buckingham Palace Road, which he occupied throughout his life. He exhibited for the first time at the Royal Academy in 1828, and in 1838 modelled the first bust of the queen done after her accession to the throne. He took a high position as a portrait-sculptor, and his works of this class have great merit. He executed the statues of Sir Francis Bacon, for Trinity College, Cambridge; Lord Auckland, for Calcutta; Dr. Goodall, for Eton; John Hunter, for the Royal College of Surgeons; William Harvey, for the new museum at Oxford; Archbishop Sumner, for Canterbury Cathedral; Charles II, for the House of Lords; the figures of Cranmer, Latimer, and Ridley in the Martyrs' Memorial at Oxford; and a very large number of busts of eminent persons. Of his fancy figures and groups the most important are the Shelley memorial in Christchurch Abbey, Hampshire, and the group of ‘Manufactures’ in the Albert Memorial in Hyde Park. Engravings of his figure of a ‘Suppliant’ and Shelley monument were published in the ‘Art Journal’ in 1853 and 1863. Weekes was elected an associate of the Royal Academy in 1850, a full member in 1863, and professor of sculpture in 1873. In 1852 he was awarded a gold medal by the Society of Arts for his treatise on the fine arts section of the International Exhibition of 1851. He died, after much suffering, at his house in Pimlico on 28 May 1877. His bust of Dean Buckland is now in the National Portrait Gallery. A marble bust of Weekes was lent by J. Ernest Weekes to the Victorian Exhibition in 1887.

[Men of the Time, 1875; Art Journal, 1877; Redgrave's Dict. of Artists.]

F. M. O'D.