Wesley, John: Statues and sculpture

1. Around 1825 Charles Manning (fl.1800-1840), sculptor, promoted the idea of a statue of John Wesley and when a sponsor was found, his son Samuel Manning the elder (1788-1842) made a model. Because of the death of both the donor and Samuel Manning, Samuel Manning the younger (1816-1865) carved a full-length life-sized marble statue (based on his father's model) which was placed in the entrance hall at Richmond College on June 14th 1849. Following the College's closure in 1972, the statue was transferred to Westminster Central Hall.

2. On the 30th March 1876 a white marble bas-relief profile of John and Charles Wesley sculpted by Adams-Acton was unveiled in Westminster Abbey. In 1891 Adams-Acton sculpted a full-length statue of John Wesley, which was cast in bronze and erected in the forecourt of Wesley's Chapel, City Road, London as part of the centenary of his death. A stone statue of John Wesley carved by Robert Bridgemen (1844-1918) was erected in the reading room of John Rylands [University of Manchester] Library.

3. To celebrate Methodist Union in 1932 an equestrian statue of John Wesley, sculpted by A.R.Walker A.R.A. (1861-1939) was placed in the Broadmead forecourt of John Wesley's Chapel, the New Room, Bristol. To celebrate the 200th anniversary of the holding of the first Methodist Society a bronze statue of Charles Wesley sculpted by F. Brook Hitch FRBS (1877-1957) was erected in the Horsefair courtyard.

4. The 250th Anniversary of John Wesley's return to England and London and of his Conversion experience was celebrated in 1988, when a bronze copy of the Manning statue was placed in the churchyard of St Paul's Cathedral. The Tercentenary of Wesley's birth in 2003 saw erected at Epworth a bronze statue designed by Sue Reeves.

See also Ceramics.

  • Methodist Recorder, 5 March 1891
  • Illustrated London News, 7 March 1891 p302; 25 February 1933, p256.
  • Methodist Magazine , March 1933, p 192; July 1939, pp395-6
  • A.M.W. Stirling, Victorian Sidelights (1954)
  • WHS Proceedings, 54, pp115-119
  • David J. Jeremy, in Brands Plucked from the Burning (2013) pp.48-50