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Woodington, William Frederick (1806–1893), sculptor and painter, was born at Sutton Coldfield, Warwickshire, on 10 February 1806. He moved to London in 1815, and about 1820 was apprenticed to Robert William Sievier, who was at that time practising engraving but who shortly afterwards turned to sculpture, as did Woodington also. Early in his career he also worked for William Croggan, the successor to the firm which manufactured the artificial Coade stone. In 1825 Woodington first exhibited at the Royal Academy, and until 1882 was a frequent contributor of portrait busts, and figures and reliefs of biblical, mythological, and poetical subjects. He also exhibited at the Society of British Artists (1825, 1828) and the British Institution (1827, 1830, 1832). To the Westminster Hall exhibition of 1844 he sent two sculptural groups, The Deluge and Milton Dictating to his Daughters. Four years later he produced statues of William, earl of Arundel, and Hubert, earl of Kent, for the House of Lords.

In 1850 Woodington executed the work for which he is best-known—the bronze relief of the Battle of the Nile on the plinth of Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square. The following year he was appointed curator of the Royal Academy School of Sculpture. In 1856 he made a colossal bust of Sir Joseph Paxton, architect of the Crystal Palace, for the Crystal Palace building, which was then situated at Sydenham, Kent. He was awarded second prize in 1857 in the competition for the Wellington monument in St Paul's Cathedral. Later, in 1861, he executed two of the reliefs on the walls of the consistory chapel in which the winning monument, the work of Alfred Stevens, was temporarily placed. His other notable commissions for architectural sculpture include the statues of Columbus, Galileo, Drake, Cook, Raleigh, and Mercator, and the pediment sculpture Wisdom Sending Forth her Messengers to the Nations of the Earth, all executed in 1867 for the Liverpool exchange (dem. 1937; location of sculptures unknown), and Plato, Archimedes, and Justinian for the civil service commission buildings in Burlington Gardens, London.

Woodington also practised painting, and frequently exhibited pictures. In 1853 he sent to the academy The Angels Directing the Shepherds to Bethlehem, in 1854 Job; his Three Friends Condole him in Silence, and in 1855 an illustration to Dante, A Vessel under Conduct of an Angel. In 1876 he was elected an ARA. Woodington died at his house at Brixton, London, on 24 December 1893 and was buried in Norwood cemetery, London.

F. M. O'Donoghue, rev. Martin Barnes

Sources  

R. Gunnis, Dictionary of British sculptors, 1660–1851 (1953), 441–2 · Art Journal, new ser., 14 (1894), 61 · The Athenaeum (30 Dec 1893), 922 · Daily Chronicle [London] (27 Dec 1893) · The Times (27 Dec 1893) · T. Cavanagh, Public sculpture of Liverpool (1997), 301–2, 342 · B. Read, Victorian sculpture (1982), 22, 84, 90, 120, 226 · J. A. Mackay, The dictionary of western sculptors in bronze (1977), 397 · Thieme & Becker, Allgemeines Lexikon, 36.246–7 · Graves, RA exhibitors, 8 (1906), 345–6

Likenesses  

R. & E. Taylor, wood-engraving, NPG; repro. in ILN (13 May 1876)