William Shakespeare

  • Sculptor: John Quincy Adams Ward
  • Pedestal: Jacob Wrey Mould
  • Dedicated: 1872
  • Medium and size: Bronze (8 feet), granite base (8 feet)
  • Location: Central Park, Literary Walk, north of the 65th Street Traverse
  • Subway: 6 to 59th Street or F to Lexington Avenue - 63rd Street


Shakespeare and Mass Murder

Astor riot

The Astor Opera House disappeared within a few years of the 1851 riot, unable to overcome its label as the "Massacre Opera House" at "DisAster Place.” It stood on the Lafayette between Astor Place and East 8th St.

What Did Shakespeare Really Look Like?

No contemporary, undisputed likeness of Shakespeare exists; see Bill Bryson’s Shakesp eare for an entertaining discussion of the contenders. Ward used a bust in Stratford-upon-Avon cemetery and had an actor friend (James Morrison Steele MacKay) strike a pose. Like MacMonnies’ Nathan Hale, Ward’s Shakespeare captures a spirit without capturing an exact likeness.

John Quincy Adams Ward

As a young man, John Quincy Adams Ward (1830-1910) worked with Henry Kirke Brown on the Washington at Union Square, dedicated in 1856. Far earlier than his contemporaries, War believed American sculptors should present American ideas and be trained in America: he never studied abroad. He was the leading American sculptor for fifty-odd years, known as the "Dean of American Sculpture." Indian Hunter, 1869 (Central Park, near the Mall), established his reputation.

Manhattan has Washington, Greeley, Holley, Conkling, Dodge and Shakespeare, as well as the Seventh Regiment Memorial, 1869(Central Park, West Drive at 67th Street) and the Pilgrim, 1885 (Central Park, east end of the 72nd-Street Traverse). The original sculptures of the New York Stock Exchange pediment were Ward's, but they've been replaced with copies. Brooklyn has Henry Ward Beecher, 1891 (Columbus Park). 

Cross References

Copyright (c) 2013 Dianne L. Durante