I was walking at Parliament Square in London last week and saw before me something most unexpected, a statue of Abraham Lincoln. Boy, that statue seems familiar.
Having lived in Chicago, my brain connected the dots even without the facts.
“Saint Gaudens Statue in London, England
Visitors to Parliament Square sometimes wonder why this Lincoln statue came to be placed there. Created by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, it's a full-size replica of his acclaimed original in Chicago's Lincoln Park.
The Saint-Gaudens statue was not intended for this spot, however. It replaces a replica of a controversial statue by George Barnard previously installed in Cincinnati, Ohio. When the president's son Robert heard that the Barnard statue was headed for London, he was appalled, calling it "simply horrible." Because of his influence, the Saint-Gaudens work was dedicated in London on July 28, 1920. The Barnard statue replica, dubbed the "stomach ache statue" because of the placement of the hands, went to Manchester, England instead.”
“If you're near Lincoln Park in Chicago (Clark Street and North Avenue), take the opportunity to see one of America's most famous Lincoln statues. You will find it on the east lawn of the Chicago Historical Society. A replica of this work by sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens also stands outside Westminster Abbey, London.
To create this monumental figure Saint-Gaudens used the 1860 life mask of Lincoln by Chicago sculptor Leonard Volk. A Vermont farmer of approximately Lincoln's height served as the model. Thousands of people watched the dedication ceremony on October 22, 1887, when Lincoln's grandson and namesake unveiled the statute and Leonard Swett delivered the address.”
The “stomach ache” statue by Barnard seems more honest. The Saint-Gaudens is more reverent perhaps. I enjoy them both and it is an honor to see an American president so well respected in the UK.