Monument to Wilberforce (detail)1833
Westminster Abbey, London
By the second quarter of the nineteenth century it was no longer only the courts and the aristocracy or cultivated amateurs who commissioned sculpture for their tombs or their homes. Public monuments to kings, generals or great statesmen, to political events, wars or peace, abounded in the large cities, but in addition local mayors and worthies, doctors and artists, writers and benefactors were all recorded in marble or bronze until almost every village could boast one or more of such objects. And innumerable carved graveyard figures should be added to the list. In all these sculptures the demand was for an exact, photographic representation. The monument to Wilberforce in the Westminster Abbey is an effective but typical example.