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Admiral Sir William Sidney Smith Statue - National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Master Mariner
N 51° 28.873 W 000° 00.333
30U E 707917 N 5707592
Quick Description: This statue of Admiral Sir William Sidney Smith is located in the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London. The statue started life in the Painted Hall, that is located in the grounds of the Old Royal Naval College, in 1845.
Location: London, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 1/22/2015 6:31:34 AM
Waymark Code: WMN92G
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member 8Nuts MotherGoose
Views: 0

Long Description:

The co-ordinates are for the Romney Road entrance to the National Maritime Museum that is open from 10am to 5pm from Monday to Sunday.

The information card next to the statue of Smith tells us:

Admiral Sir William Sidney Smith, 1764-1840
by Thomas Kirk, Dublin, 1845

Smith joined the Navy aged 11, at the start of the War of American Independence, and became a controversial but successful commander of irregular forces in the Mediterranean during the French wars, 1793-1815. Apart from Wellington he was the only British commander who successfully defied Napoleon on land, by repulsing his Siege of Acre (Syria) in 1799. A talented linguist, he found the French appreciated his flamboyance more than the British and he eventually retired to Paris.

Commissioned as a national monument, pursuant to vote of the House of Commons in 1842.

The National Maritime Museum website tells us about the statue and Smith:

Over life-size marble statue, the sitter bare-headed, facing forwards but looking and imperiously pointing slightly down to his right with extended right arm. His left arm stretches back behind to support him on one of several pieces of ruined masonry and his left leg rests, stepping up, on another to his front left. An exploded gun breech lies by his right foot and a canon shot is realistically embedded in the front of the slightly uneven paved surface on which he stands, and which forms the square base of the piece. Smith is shown here at the defence of Acre in 1799, in captain's uniform, with epaulettes, his coat embroidered with the Swedish Royal Order of the Sword, and with a handkerchief knotted loosely round his neck. He wears calf-high boots over tight trousers and a Mameluke pattern curved sabre from a sword belt with two lion heads in the clasps.

Having been an enterprising frigate captain early in the French Wars of 1793-1815 (and enduring a period of captivity), Smith became a controversial squadron commander in the Mediterranean where he showed a genius for working with irregular forces, much helped by his talent for languages. His greatest feat was his defence of Acre (Syria) against Napoleon's siege in 1799, with a motley Levantine garrison and using the guns he had previously captured from Napoleon's siege train. He was not popular with many superiors, being in many ways a maverick with influential political connections, but was undoubtedly brave, resourceful and successful in many situations that required unusual talents. Napoleon later remarked of him, rather than Nelson or any other British commander, 'that man made me miss my destiny'. Typically perhaps, he found France more congenial than England and retired to Paris. His well-preservd tomb is in the Pere Lachaise cemetery.

This piece is signed 'T. KIRK R.H.A. / Sculpt. / DUBLIN' and was commissioned by the House of Commons as a national monument. It is Kirk's last major work and one of his best, though the best known was his statue of Nelson on the 'pillar' in Dublin, destroyed by the IRA in 1966. On completion it was shipped to Greenwich where it was officially received in July 1845 and installed in the Naval Gallery in the Painted Hall at Greenwich Hospital.

Original Location: N 51° 28.982 W 000° 00.340

How it was moved: Wheels / Dolly / Truck

Type of move: Inside City

Building Status: Museum

Related Website: [Web Link]

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