Monument to Bishop Reginald Heber by Sir Francis Chantrey. Marble. St. Paul's Cathedral, Kolkata (Calcutta), India. Moved to St. Paul's in 1847. [Click on these images to enlarge them.]
Reginald Heber (1783-1826), the second Bishop of Calcutta, is best known today for his famous hymns, including "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty," "From Greenland's icy mountains," "Brightest and best of the sons of the morning" and "Lord of mercy and of might." He appears on one of the India Office façades in sculpture by Farmer and Brindley.
Heber's widow recalls that when they learnt of his death, his friends in Oxford opened a subscription for a monument to perpetuate his memory, describing him in their advertisement as a man "distinguished in this university by his genius and learning, ... virtuous and amiable in private life, and ... thoroughly devoted to the great cause in which his life was lost." Such a monument, his friends felt, would "transmit to posterity a record of his eminent services in the propagation of Christianity in India." Funds soon accumulated. The subscription was then opened in London as well, and extended to include "the endowment of an oriental scholarship." At length, the plan bore fruit: "The monument is the work of Mr. Chantrey," his widow explains. "It is that of a colossal figure of the bishop, kneeling on a pedestal, in the attitude of devotion, with one hand on his bosom and the other resting on the Bible" (Heber 335-36).
Photographs and text by Jacqueline Banerjee. You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.
Heber, Amelia Shipley. Memoir of Reginald Heber, D.D., Bishop of Calcutta. Abridged. Boston: Jewett and Co., 1853. Internet Archive. Web. 29 January 2013.
Last modified 25 May 2011