Richard Belt, the jailbird sculptor

Richard Belt was Society’s darling, sculptor to the stars in the 1870s and ’80s, but then it all came crashing down.

Richard Belt’s big break

In the spring of 1877, a young sculptor named Richard Belt beat 38 others in a competition to create a monument to Lord Byron. Among the losers was Auguste Rodin, not yet appreciated for his art. There were allegations that Belt only won thanks to the influence of some of his supporters. Today those allegations are forgotten, mainly because the statue is no longer noticed, even though it’s still standing. Marooned on a traffic island close to Apsley House on Park Lane, Byron is surrounded by shrubbery in a manner reminiscent of Sleeping Beauty.

Statue of Lord Byron by Richard Belt

Statue of Lord Byron by Richard Belt. By Lonpicman (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons

By the time Byron was unveiled in 1880, Belt was the sculptor of choice for anyone who could afford him and his future looked quite golden. In 1881, Queen Victoria commissioned a memorial bust of the late Prime Minister Disraeli, Lord Beaconsfield, from Mr. Belt. This may have been the last straw for Belt’s detractors.

Other sculptors were jealous and suspicious

Belt’s rise to fame and his gluttonous gobbling of all the juicy commissions led to backlash from his brother artists, and it wasn’t pretty.

On August 20, 1881, the magazine Vanity Fair published a long and detailed attack on Belt. It starts with:

“Mr. Belt is undoubtedly the fashionable sculptor of the day.”

and descends into the mud fairly quickly and often.

“… there can be no doubt of the general excellence of the work that bears Mr. Belt’s name …

“But is Mr. Belt really the author of the works that bear his name?”

There were some fairly pointed but slightly weasel-worded allegations about Belt’s assistants doing the artistic work for him.

The piece ended with a reference to the recently announced commission from Queen Victoria, saying,

“We shall be glad to know that Her Majesty’s choice of an artist is really warranted.” 

This attack was mild compared to what came next.

Belt, in the meantime, kept quiet.

In August 1881, Charles Bennet Lawes wrote to Vanity Fair. Lawes had worked with Belt and was quite sure Belt was no artist. His letter said, in part,

I am sure that I am expressing the feeling of the whole profession of sculptors when I say that we are extremely obliged to you [Vanity Fair] for finding out and publishing the true history of Mr. Belt’s career. We have always known him to be nothing but an “artistic” impostor, and, by giving us an opportunity of expressing ourselves publicly on the matter, we have been enabled, I think, to remove the imputation of “professional jealousy” upon which he so successfully traded.

“There is one thing more that we should like to do, and that is to meet Mr. Belt and his “influential friends” [meaning Belt’s illustrious clients] in a court of justice, and satisfy the latter of the truth of the assertions we have lately made in your paper.

“We are very sorry to see people in the highest social position pledged to a discreditable affair of this sort; but the reasons that have led them into their position are briefly these —

“Firstly. That anybody can do a bad bust.

“Secondly. That they have seen Mr. Belt at work.

“Thirdly. That they have never been introduced to a “ghost” — that is to say, a person employed by incompetent artists secretly to do up their work and make it artistic.

“These “ghosts” are naturally rarely seen and difficult to catch, but, once in a court of law, it is wonderful what funny stories could be got out of them.”

Them’s fightin’ words.

A ghostly side note

The term “ghost”, to refer to someone who does work for another artist secretly, was not new, but the etymology of “ghost” as in “sculptor’s ghost” is often traced from the (spoiler alert) case of Belt v. Lawes with the first usage in print. It would seem that if the reports of the actual legal proceedings are being held out as the first published usage, that should be adjusted as Mr. Lawes’ letter came before the court case.

I believe the term “ghost writer” also stems from this root.

Now back to the fight.

The epic case of Belt v. Lawes

Belt’s reputation had been so strongly attacked that he had to do something. He went off to see his learned friends the lawyers, and in due course the lengthy lawsuit of Belt v. Lawes, in which Belt alleged libel by Lawes, began.

It was gruelling and also a ridiculous show at times.

The trial started in June 1882. Between then and the end of December, the court sat for 43 days, judge and jury.

Belt v Lawes courtroom scene

Belt v Lawes courtroom scenes

Lawes had libelled Belt, Belt claimed, by saying that Belt put his own name on the work of other artists whom he employed, his “ghosts”. There was a lot of evidence given to show that Belt was an artist capable of doing his own work; in court he was made to demonstrate his ability by sculpting on command. One illustration of the trial shows the courtroom half-filled with busts and even the full-size statue Hypatia.

On the last day, the judge’s wife and three illustrious non-judicial friends were invited to sit with him on the bench, so crowded was the courtroom. When the jury found in Belt’s favour, and awarded him the colossal amount of 5,000 pounds, a great cheer went up. Belt was carried around the court on the shoulders of supporters, emerging from the building in what sounds like a state of shock, but fully aware he had won.

Lawes didn’t like the result, and nor did the artistic establishment. There was wrangling and at one point, Belt offered Lawes a settlement of 500 pounds. Lawes was determined to appeal, and refused. On appeal the award to Belt was doubled to 10,000 pounds.

War of the classes

There was obviously a lot of popular sympathy riding with Richard Belt. On the one hand, he had many illustrious clients who supported him for their own reasons. Some probably liked him – he does sound like he made friends easily – and they couldn’t think ill of him. Others, perhaps more canny, wouldn’t have wanted their expensive art devalued by the revelation of plagiarism. And another faction may simply not have liked the opposition, whom they perceived as rich and privileged upper class artists who were conspiring to ruin Mr. Belt.

Belt was a poor boy made good. Educated at charity school, his father died when he was 14, leaving his mother with three of her six sons still to raise. Richard was number five of the six. After leaving school, he worked at different jobs, and discovered a talent for sculpting and drawing. Through different lucky breaks, while still a teenager, he was taken on as a helper in the studio of eminent sculptor J. H. Foley and later in Lawes’ own studio. He testified that he and Lawes were friends, and that Lawes had treated him as an equal.

At the libel trial, though, Lawes wasn’t alone against Belt. So were many artists, including sculptors Belt had employed, and the President of the Royal Academy of Arts, Sir Frederic Leighton. It didn’t matter. On that day, Belt could do no wrong.

Winning is not the same as getting paid

Like many a litigant before him, Richard Belt discovered that even when you win, you don’t win. On the one hand, you have to pay your lawyer, and a lot of the paying happens before you know the outcome of the trial. On the other hand, Belt had this whopping big judgement against Lawes – 10,000 pounds – which surely meant financial security.


When the loser has nothing, they have nothing to lose. Mr. Lawes and Mr. Belt both became bankrupts.

In Lawes’ case, he came from privilege and one assumes his life was not lived in wretched poverty while he waited for his inheritance. He did a good job of keeping his assets out of Belt’s hands, and in fairness, he had no reason to ask for his inheritance early.

As for Belt, he was counting on the money from the Lawes win. He seems to have been quite good at spending. He’d been paid to do work on another major commission (more on that in a minute) but that money was all gone. He had debts, especially one to Sir Charles Abdy, the story of which is so far-fetched you would think this was fiction.

The skill of Richard Belt: Getting the commissions

Richard Belt loved mixing and mingling with Society. It’s obvious from the work he did that he was able to cultivate that particular clientele.

At the trial, the sculptor Thomas Brock said Belt had tried to enlist him as a partner. Brock was already sure Belt had no talent. In evidence, Brock said, “It seemed to me an absurd proposal in art.”

Then, said Brock, Belt told him the work lay not in the studio but “you must put a fine coat on your back and go out into society,” because, “Anyone can do the work, the difficulty is to get the commissions.”

Belt was very good at getting the commissions and after his triumph over Lawes, he should have been riding high. He had one particularly notable commission on the books by 1886: the statue of Queen Anne in front of St. Paul’s Cathedral, with four allegorical figures arrayed around her, that same statue you can see there today.

The first statue of Queen Anne, by Francis Bird

There was an earlier statue complete with the four allegories commissioned by Queen Anne herself and erected in 1712. The artist, Francis Bird, was as popular in his time as Belt was during his moments of glory.

Bird’s statue of Queen Anne was described as ugly, bad work almost from the moment it went up. In every century, it seems at least one critic has published a scathing description and there aren’t as many positive as negative reviews. In the 1800s, the statue was allowed to get dirty, to lose fingers without them being replaced, and generally to decay in place. A vandal climbed up and hacked away at the face in a fit of insanity, but still the statue stayed put.

Neither the Church nor the London officials wanted to take responsibility, i.e., pay, for repairs and upkeep, and poor Queen Anne was like the shuttlecock in a game of badminton.

Finally London stepped up and work started. The Morning Post reported on  September 7, 1885:

“The removal in the course of the present week of the statue of Queen Anne from the western end of St. Paul’s church-yard will free that portion of the metropolis from what has long been a reproach and an eye-sore. Still, before this monstrosity is consigned to oblivion ….”

The Francis Bird statue, with her four attendants, was hauled off to the breaker’s yard and nearly shattered to sell off as material for smaller sculptures. In the nick of time, the writer Augustus Hare rescued the whole thing and with great difficulty and much horsepower had it transported to East Sussex, where the Queen and her court now repose as a Grade II* listed object “particularly important and of more than special interest.”

Writing about the whole affair later, Hare said,

“The charlatan sculptor, Belt, went to the city council and said, ‘Your Queen Anne has lost many fingers and fragments, you had better let me make another copy. I will do it very cheaply.’ And Belt was allowed to make his stone copy and put it up, and the Carrara marble statue of the Queen and her four attendant ladies disappeared suddenly in the night, vanished into space leaving no trace behind.”

St. Paul’s forecourt was breezily empty for almost a year. The London officials did their job of procuring a new statue, or at least, the materials and contractors to do it. The firm of Mowlem, Freeman & Burt, reputable and highly competent, provided the stone. That charlatan Richard Belt (as Hare called him, despite the outcome of the libel trial) was chosen as the sculptor and paid before the statue actually appeared.

The downfall of Richard Belt

Richard Belt was driven into bankruptcy by a creditor named Sir William Abdy.

Abdy and Belt had been friends. Lady Abdy had a fondness for jewellery. Belt saw an opportunity.

Said Belt to Sir William, “I have a dear friend, Mrs. Morphy, who is in a situation that may interest you. The lady is in desperate need of funds. To avoid embarrassment, she has asked me to liquidate some of her most precious possessions. These are jewels, not ordinary jewellery, mind you, but jewels given by the Sultan to his mistress when Mrs. Morphy held that post.” (I paraphrase but Belt’s story did include Mrs. Morphy and the Sultan.)

Belt went on, “Knowing how Lady Abdy loves her baubles, I confide to you that so desperate is Mrs. Morphy, she is willing to let these things go for a song.”

Mouth watering, Sir William said, “Bring it on.”

“Just a moment while I make a call,” said Belt, and summoned a carrier pigeon or perhaps one of those obliging lads who used to fetch and carry for Ebenezer Scrooge.

Belt passed the word to his younger brother Walter that Sir William was good for a substantial purchase of jewels. William nipped out and picked some up at the pawn broker’s, for far less than what Richard charged Sir William.

In ignorance of their true value, Sir William paid in full, Lady Abdy was happy, and the Belt brothers made profits hand over fist.

They repeated the same scam on Sir William several times, and everyone was happy with the arrangement, even the non-existent Mrs. Morphy whose non-existent money problems had presumably gone away.

In the London Evening Standard  for March 16, 1886, I saw this:

“Walter Belt in 1884 seemed to have got up a photographic business, and sent photographs to the Abdys, one of them being of Miss St. John, whom Lady Abdy said had been taken wearing her diamonds; whereupon she telegraphed to Mr. Belt, ‘I leave my husband. That actress, your friend, ruined him.'”

It’s a bit complicated, but upon seeing the picture of Miss St. John, Lady Abdy telegraphed Belt without asking her husband about Miss St. John first. This was odd. Lady Abdy and Sir William were in Paris together at the time, playing cards and gambling with each other for pretend money. He thought they were an example of marital harmony and bliss. Apparently not.

The photo referred to was of Miss Florence St. John, a well-known actress of the day, kitted out in finery and sporting jewels not unlike those Sir William had purchased for his lady. As the telegraph showed, so similar were those jewels that Lady Abdy unilaterally decided they were in fact her own diamonds, and that her rascal of a husband was consorting with a show girl. As it happens, Florence wasn’t averse to a bit of consorting, but not with Sir William in particular.

Much confusion, in fact, material suited to a French farce followed. The culmination was that Lady Abdy discovered her husband had been overcharged to a scandalous degree.

Criminal charges and a trial for fraud by Walter and Richard proceeded quickly. Society was aghast. I was hoping the court would find that Walter was the bad guy and Richard the innocent pawn, but the judge didn’t see it that way.

Once the evidence was in and the closing arguments had been heard, the jury took about an hour to find Walter not guilty and Richard guilty.

Justice Stephen said,

“Richard Belt, you stand convicted of obtaining money by false pretences, and it is obvious that you must have carried on a long course of deceit, and obtained a considerable sum of money by the exercise of your influence over a person who certainly did not show any great degree of sense, or any great amount of strength of character. The sentence upon you is that you be imprisoned and kept to hard labour for the term of twelve calendar months.”

Belt protested that it was all the fault of Mr. Lewis (a lawyer) and Mr. Lawes.

The judge abruptly interrupted:

“No, no. Take him down. Not a word after sentence.”

The report finishes with:

” … the prisoner, much against his will, was then removed.”

Sculpting Queen Anne in jail

Almost immediately after Richard Belt vanished through the trap door of the justice system, the papers and pundits began to wonder, “What about that statue of Queen Anne? How’s that going to get done now?”

In December 1886, that very statue was unveiled, and that very sculptor was still in jail. His wife Georgina, whom he had married in 1884 (poor timing on her part) got up a petition to cut back the hard labour – those delicate sculptor’s hands were not meant for picking oakum. The result of it, I’m afraid I don’t know. Whether he was doing hard labour or not, Richard Belt was in jail for most of 1886 and presumably into 1887, to complete the 12 months of his sentence.

When Queen Anne’s statue appeared, it was then decided by someone somewhere that Belt had secretly completed the statue while in jail. There are two versions of this: Belt was smuggled out or – the more popular version – the statue was smuggled in.

It’s astonishing to think of how that might happen.

When Augustus Hare shipped  the old Francis Bird statue down to East Sussex, the effort was something like loading Noah’s Ark, only harder.

However, people were ready to believe that the massive block of stone from Mowlem’s was silently hauled through the streets of London under dead of night to the waiting gates of Holloway Prison, presumably passing through a courtyard laid with straw to deaden the sound of the horseshoes, and into a secret cell no one knew about.

Then Mr. Belt was blindfolded and led to the said cell, where a muffled chisel was placed in his right hand and a felt-lined basket in his left to avoid the sound of the chips hitting the floor.

Etc. etc., I think you can see I find this story more than fanciful. However, it was believed.

I thought maybe it was apocryphal. No.

To set the record straight at the time, this letter appeared in the December 7, 1886 edition of The Gloucester Citizen.


(To the Editor of The Citizen.)

Sir,  – I beg to inform you that my husband modelled his statue of Queen Anne last year in the studio erected for that purpose on the Thames Embankment, and not since his imprisonment, as stated in your paper, the Citizen, which statement might cause a great deal of harm; and I shall feel obliged if you will have it contradicted immediately.

I remain, truly yours, 


5, Sussex-Place, Hyde Park, W., Dec. 5th. 

The Mowlem firm also said the work was well along before Belt went to jail.

Statue of Queen Anne at St. Paul's Cathedral

Statue of Queen Anne at St. Paul’s Cathedral. By Elias Gayles [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Richard Belt asked to have his name put on the statue and was declined. Articles about Queen Anne’s statue often credit two sculptors, Richard Belt and L. A. Malempre. Neither of these artists’ names is on the statue, though there is a plaque for Francis Bird, sculptor of the previous “monstrosity”.

After prison, Belt did live to sculpt another day. On November 19, 1887, the papers said, Mr. Belt was back at work in his Victoria Street studio on a number of commissions for busts and other works in marble. (I saw this in the Dorking Advertiser). However, I haven’t seen anything to suggest he had any high-profile work for some time after the prison experience.

Reichard Belt may have been busy enough helping his loyal wife in her business. Georgina was a manufacturer of art paper, mainly crinkle paper, from which can be made lovely decorations. In 1897, for Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee, Mrs. Belt’s Eburite Crinkle Paper Company of 56 Eagle Street, High Holborn supplied all the flowers to decorate the Royal Route from St. Paul’s to the West End, including “that glorious Arcadia and bower of flowers in St. James’s Street which excited the admiration of the Queen and the public.” (Staffordshire Advertiser, June 26, 1897)

Richard Belt died in 1920. In the last years of his life, he produced some sculptures that seem to have passed muster. The two I know of are his bust of Lord Kitchener, exhibited 1917 and displayed for a time in the War Office, and the War Memorial for the former Brixton Independent Church (since changed to Our Lady of the Rosary). The memorial was incomplete when Belt died but was unveiled in 1921 after completion by Percy George Bentham.

Many of Belt’s sculptures are still around, including Queen Anne at St. Paul’s Cathedral, Lord Byron on Park Lane, Hypatia in the Draper’s Hall, a bust of Rev. William Conway in St. Margaret’s Church next to Westminster Abbey, and a number of others. If you get the chance, judge for yourself whether these came from the same artistic mind and hand, or from a variety of artists for hire.

Did you like this story? I hope you’ll have a chance to visit some of the associated places.

If you’d like to subscribe to the blog, just use the Magic Button in the sidebar.

Places associated with this story

In London

I’ve visited the neighbourhoods of the addresses below, but that was before I decided to write this article, so I had to rely on Google Street View quite a bit. I’ve tried to determine whether the original buildings are standing.

  • Richard Belt’s Statues (some of them):

    • Statue of Byron is on a traffic island formed by Park Lane and Achilles Way
    • Statue of Queen Anne is in front of St. Paul’s Cathedral
    • Statue of Hypatia is in Drapers’ Hall, Throgmorton Avenue, EC2N 2DQ
  • Richard Belt’s childhood school and family homes and neighbourhood
    • The school and homes are all close to St. John’s Smith Square
    • Burdett-Coutts & Townshend School was the charity school Richard Belt told the court he had attended. The school is still operating, on Rochester Street, SW1P.
    • Gayfere Street, SW1P 3HP runs north from St. John’s Smith Square, and used to be called St. John’s Street. I can’t be sure that the house numbers today are the same as in the 1800s but at the time, the Belt family occupied these addresses, some or all of which are still intact:
      • 19 St. John’s Street – 1836
      • 5 St. John’s Street – 1851
      • 1 St. John’s Street – 1865. At this time, Richard’s father was a Grocer and Cheesemonger, but he had been a Blacksmith all his life up to 1861 at least. He died in 1865.
      • 1 St. John’s Street – 1871. Richard’s mother Eliza kept on as a Grocer at this address.
    • Dean Stanley Street, Smith Square, SW1P 3JH, formerly called Church Street, joins Millbank to Smith Square. “Church Street, Smith Square” comes up in  Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens, as the residence of the Hexams. The Belts lived at:
      • 3 Church Street, 1834. All of the buildings on this street look new, but I expect Church Street used to look like Lord North Street or St. John’s (Gayfere) Street at one time.
    • Millbank SW1P is just around the corner from Dean Stanley Street. The Belts lived at:
      • 19 Millbank Street, 1835. Again, no longer with us.
    • Great Peter Street SW1P 3LN used to be called Wood Street. The Belts lived at:
      • 21 Wood Street, 1861. The street looks to be a mix of old and new now.
    • St John, Smith Square is at the centre of the small area within which Eliza and George Belt and their children lived from at least 1834 until sometime between 1871 and 1881. I have found entries for the baptisms of some of the children in the church register (St. John the Evangelist, Westminster), and the burial of James, the eldest child, who was born in 1834 and died the next year. The churchyard was closed for burials on October 31, 1853. The only other Belt family member who may have died before that date is Rebecca, born in 1836 and probably died in 1841.
  • Richard Belt’s adult homes, studios, and other places
    • About 1870 – 10 Osnaburgh Street, Regent’s Park NW1, formerly numbered 19: This building is probably gone by now, as almost everything on this street is new. For many years, the sculptor John Henry Foley had his studio here, and this would have been where Richard Belt came to work during his time as a helper with Foley in about 1870. Foley had many pupils and assistants over the years.
    • Early 1870s – The Avenue Studios, 76 Fulham Road / Sydney Mews, SW3 6HL (postcode approximate): These purpose-built studios were used by many artists. It appears that when Lawes employed Belt in the early 1870s, Lawes’ studio was one of these.
    • 1875 – 138 Buckingham Palace Road, SW1W 9SA: Mapping the Practice (see Resources) gives this as Richard Belt’s address in 1875 and also as the address for L. A. Malempre in 1873.
    • 1876 – 11 Hugh Street, Eccleston Square, SW1V 1RP (postcode approximate): Mapping the Practice; Not on Google Street View but it does appear from a photo of the eyelash business at number 6 that you can walk on Hugh Street and there are intact buildings at this end.
    • 1878 to 1880 – 21 Wilton Place, SW1X 8RL: Mapping the Practice lists this. A quick search of this address shows that, like several of the studios Belt used, it had been previously the studio of other well-known artists, in this case, the Thornycroft family.
    • 1881 census, 2 Gerald Road, formerly Cottage Road, SW1W 9EQ: In 1881, the census shows four occupants, Eliza Belt, widow living on her son’s income, two unmarried sons, Walter and Richard, both having the occupation of “Artist – Sculptor”, and Eliza’s grand-daughter, Alice Belt, working as a Booking Clerk. There was a police station across the road at number 5. Today there is a blue plaque to remember the police station, long gone. There’s another blue plaque for a later resident at number 15, Noel Coward.
    • 1881 to 1885 – 5 William Street, SW1X: Mapping the Practice lists this studio address but I can’t tell from Google Maps and Street View whether the building is still standing. There is what appears to be a number 4 close to the Hyde Park end.
    • 1891 census – Parliament Mansions, Abbey Orchard Street, SW1P 2LU – The census says “Orchard Street”, which can be confused with a street of that name running north from Oxford Street. However, it’s clear from maps and the census pages that the address was on Abbey Orchard Street. The modern building at number 1, just off Victoria Street, where Abbey Orchard splits in two, is the right location but the building is gone.
    • 1901 census – “Blair Atholl”, Cranes Park Avenue, Surbiton, KT5 8BS (postcode approximate): Richard’s occupation is “Retired Sculptor” and the art paper business is more prominent, with Georgina the Art Paper Manufacturer and one nephew, Sidney David Lane, managing the plant. The house name isn’t visible from Google Street View, but it looks like the original houses are standing on Cranes Park Avenue, and that most of the named houses on the 1901 census were fairly new. This was a rural village, not big city London.
    • 1911 census – 3 De Vere Mansions, 37 De Vere Gardens, W8 5AW: Today De Vere Gardens is one of the most expensive streets in London. In 1911 Richard was again listing his occupation as Sculptor, and Georgina didn’t give an occupation. The couple were again living near Kensington Palace, and I have the feeling Richard may never have wanted to leave in the first place, but that’s just speculation.
    • 1920 – Richard Belt died in 1920 and his remains are in the Golders Green Crematorium. In 1922, Georgina also died and hers are in the same place. Finally, in 1934, brother Walter joined them. Richard and Georgina had no children.
    • Westminster Hall and the Royal Courts of Justice: The long trial of Belt v. Lawes in 1882-1884 was held in Westminster Hall. After Belt’s criminal conviction in 1886, The Saturday Review of March 20 reported on it and included this historical note as well. Items in square brackets are my notes.
      • “Belt v. Lawes was the very last action tried in aliquo certo loco [in a fixed or certain place], as fixed by practice unchanged since the passing of the remarkable statute in which those words occur. [Magna Carta] The end of Baron Huddleston’s summing-up had just been thrown over the Christmas holidays when the rest of the High Court rose forever in Westminster Hall. On the last day of the year, or thereabouts, the old Court of Exchequer was filled for the last time ….”
      • In The Laws and Jurisprudence of England and America, by John Forrest Dillon (Little Brown, 1894), there is this additional historical note:
      • “The last case tried in the courts at Westminster was the celebrated case of Belt v. Lawes, in which judgement was given December 28 1882.” 
    • and later:
      • “The new Courts of Justice [the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand] though inaugurated on December 4, 1882, were not actually opened for business until January 11, 1883; and the case of Belt v. Lawes served to connect the old and new courts, since it was the last case adjudged in the old, and an application for a rule for a new trial therein was the first business transacted in the new building.”

Elsewhere in England

  • St. Michael and all Angels Church, Hughenden, Buckinghamshire: The memorial Queen Victoria commissioned for the Earl of Beaconsfield is here.
  • Weston-super-Mare, Somerset: On August 16, 1884, Richard Belt married Georgina Amelia Lane at Holy Trinity Church. Georgina came from there but was living in London, where presumably she had met Richard.


For some of the sculptors’ addresses I have used the excellent database on the website Mapping the Practice and Profession of Sculpture in Britain & Ireland 1851-1951. Their citations for locations take this general form (this example is for 138 Buckingham Palace Road)

In addition to Mapping, I have used newspaper reports and old maps as well as the more obvious sources Google turns up.

3 thoughts on “Richard Belt, the jailbird sculptor

What do you think?