Bronze scale model of the figure of a Guardsman flanking the Wellington Memorial opposite Apsley House at Hyde Park Corner, London. Raised on an integral bronze base inscribed Grenadier / 1st Guards / 1815’ to the front and to the sides by the art founder and sculptor ‘Elkington & Co. / J.E. BOEHM scr.’
Sir Edgar Boehm’s Wellington Memorial Statue was executed in 1888 to replace Mathew Wyatt’s colossal 1846 equestrian statue of Wellington. Wyatt’s statue stood on top of Decimus Burton’s triumphal arch which was originally located opposite Apsley House. In 1882 a road widening scheme meant the relocation of Burton’s arch to a new position at the top of Constitution Hill, and the removal of Wyatt’s 40-ton statute to Aldershot.
The present Guardsman wears the uniform of 1815 with the new addition of the bearskin cap. Following the defeat of Napoleon’s Old Guard Grenadiers at the hands of Maitland’s Guards Brigade at Battle of Waterloo on 18 June 1815, the Prince Regent issued an order awarding the 1st Foot Guards the distinction of adopting the bearskin cap as worn by Old Guard in place of the British Army’s regulation pattern shako. For Boehm the task of accuracy was all important in executing the four figures at the base of the Wellington statue. It was, as Boehm told a reporter from the Pall Mall Gazette, ‘not a small matter to get everything about their uniforms quite correct’.
George Edward Wade (1853-1933)
was the youngest of six sons and one of 14 children of the Reverend Nugent Wade, Rector of St Anne’s, Soho. He was educated at Charterhouse and was reading for the Bar, when ill-health enforced a period of recuperation in Italy. While there here he took up painting under the guidance Sir Coutts Lindsay (1824-1913) a veteran of the Crimea and, with his wife, co-founder of the Grosvenor Gallery. Wade, however, found himself increasingly dissatisfied with painting, and turned to sculpture.
He first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1889 and in 1891 he took over the studio of the royal sculptor Sir Joseph Edgar Boehm. Wade’s long and varied career included the production of many well known public works. These included the Norwich Boer War Memorial (1904), copies of his bronze statue of King Edward VII for Madras, Reading, and Hong Kong. His marble statue of Queen Victoria (1902) in the gardens of the Presidential Residence in Colombo, Sri Lanka, and another for Allahabad, India. A colossal bronze statue of the Duke of Connaught for Hong Kong; Sir William Rose Mansfield, first Baron Sandhurst for Bombay and a Cameron Highlander for Inverness. He executed the impressive 50 foot tall monument to Sir John A Macdonald (1895) which stands beneath its ornate portico at Montreal in Canada. Copies were produced for both Hamilton and Kingston in Canada. For India he produced a portrait statue King George V to coincide with e royal visit of 1911. He produced the monolithic Pietermaritzburg War Memorial in South Africa. He sculpted the equestrian statues of Sir Chandra Shamshere Yung for Nepal and Field Marshal Earl Haig for the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle. In 1929 he sculpted Salvation Army General and Mrs Booth for Champion Park, Denmark Hill, London. He designed a children’s fountain for the Women’s World Temperance Movement Association, a copy of which stands in Temple Gardens, Embankment, London.
‘The popularity of Wade’s sculpture was probably due not only to the fact that that it was always comprehensible but that it was both ennobling and restrained in equal measure.’ His last work was the Stourbridge War Memorial which was inaugurated in 1931. In private life Wade was a keen golfer, designed houses for his friends and tried his hand at airplane design. He died at home at Hyde Park Street in London on 5 February 1933. In 1869 Wade married Isabella Mary Josephine, daughter of Lieutenant-General J. M. Macintyre, R.A. and they had two daughters.
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