Elizabeth Gaskell Relief Bronze - Knutsford, Cheshire, UK.
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Poole/Freeman
N 53° 18.246 W 002° 22.369
30U E 541793 N 5906283
Quick Description: The relief bronze of the author Elizabeth Gaskell is located on the Gaskell Memorial Tower on King Street in Knutsford town centre.
Location: North West England, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 8/22/2020 8:25:56 AM
Waymark Code: WM130Q6
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Alfouine
Views: 1

Long Description:
The relief bronze of the author Elizabeth Gaskell is located on the Gaskell Memorial Tower on King Street in Knutsford town centre.

The Gaskell Memorial Tower, designed by Richard Harding Watt with assistance from William Longworth, was built in 1907. It is dedicated to Elizabeth Gaskell a famous 19th century author who lived in Knutsford.

A blue plaque mounted on the tower is inscribed as follows;

Knutsford Town Council Coat of Arms
Built in 1907.
Designed for Richard Harding Watt.
Dedicated to Elizabeth Gaskell
the 19th century author.


The Gaskell Memorial Tower (along with the adjacent Former Kings Coffee House) is a Grade II* listed building. The description given by Historic England can be seen at the following link: (visit link)

The Gaskell Memorial Tower and King's Coffee House when they were originally built had a triple function as council offices, a coffee house with ballroom, and a memorial to the novelist Elizabeth Gaskell, a former resident of the town who is often known as Mrs Gaskell.

Richard Harding Watt was a local business man who had made his money working as a successful glove manufacturer in Manchester. Watt had travelled extensively in Europe bringing back a love of the extravagant architectural styles which can be seen on his buildings in Knutsford.
He had studied drawing but had no architectural training and so he different commissioned a number of architects to work with him to execute his designs.
Watt wanted to commemorate the novelist Mrs Gaskell, who had lived in Knutsford, and who had based some of her works on the town, in particular the novel Cranford.
The building Gaskell Memorial Tower that he designed and worked on with William Longworth was officially opened on 23rd March 1907 in the presence of one of Mrs Gaskell's grandsons.

The design of the building is mainly Italianate but incorporates features of many styles of architecture that inspired Watt during his trips abroad.

There are two depictions of Mrs Gaskell incorporated on the tower, a bronze relief and a stone bust.

The stone bust is situated in a niche above the window facing King Street.
The bust on display is a copy of a marble bust made in 1897 by Hamo Thornycroft. This was also a copy of a plaster neoclassic bust by the Newcastle -based sculptor David Dunbar, which was sculpted in about 1829-1830.

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The Bronze Relief
The bronze relief is set into the wall on the right hand face of the tower. It was created by the sculptor Cavaliere Achille D'Orsi.
In 1898 Richard Harding Watt had placed it on the front of the Knutsford post office , a building that he then owned, but it was later moved and mounted on the Gaskell Memorial Tower.

The sculpture shows a portrait of an older Elizabeth facing to the left and looking out slightly forward. She is wearing a scarf that covers her hair and hangs down her back. The dress she is wearing has a high stand up collar with buttons down the front. Her shoulder is covered with a patterned shawl. Across the corner of the bronze is the spine of a book with 'CRANFORD' inscribed and below it in the crook of her arm there is a quill pen.

Elizabeth Gaskell's novel Cranford was published in book form in 1853.
Much of the country town of Cranford was based on the town of Knutsford where she had spent much of her childhood and where she returned after she married. The narrator in the story comes from the nearby industrial city of Drumble, which corresponds to Manchester, where Elizabeth lived when she was writing the novel.

Elizabeth Gaskell(1810 - 1865)
Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell née Stevenson was an English Victorian novelist. She was born in Chelsea, London on 29th September 1810, and was the daughter of a Unitarian minister, William Stevenson. Elizabeth was raised by her aunt Hannah Lumb, who lived in Knutsford, after her mother's death in 1811, when she was just 13month old.
In 1832, she married William Gaskell, who was an assistant Unitarian minister, at Cross Street Unitarian Chapel in Manchester, where they then lived.
The death of her only son inspired her to write her first novel, 'Mary Barton', which was published anonymously in 1848. It was a success and won the praise of Charles Dickens who invited her to contribute to his magazine, 'Household Words'. Her next major work, 'Cranford', appeared in 1853, and 'North and South' was published in 1854. Gaskell's work brought her many friends, including the novelist Charlotte Brontë. When Charlotte died in 1855, her father, Patrick Brontë, asked Gaskell to write her biography. The 'Life of Charlotte Brontë' (1857).

Elizabeth wrote many short stories and novellas, of which the finest is said to be Cousin Phillis (1863).
Her other full-length novels were Cranford (1853) Ruth (1853) North and South (1855) Sylvia’s Lovers (1863) and finally Wives and Daughters (1866), which was never finished.

Elizabeth died suddenly on 12th November 1865 at The Lawn, a house in Holybourne in Hampshire. She is buried in the grounds of the Brook Street Unitarian Chapel in Knutsford, along with her husband William Gaskell.
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Your impression of the sculpture?:

Date Sculpture was opened for vewing?: 1/1/1898

Where is this sculpture?:
Gaskell Memorial Tower, King Street, Knutsford, Cheshire, England, UK.

Sculptors Name: Achille d'Orsi

Website for sculpture?: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
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2. Provide your thoughts on the sculpture and your impression of it.

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Mike_bjm visited Elizabeth Gaskell Relief Bronze - Knutsford, Cheshire, UK. 6/23/2019 Mike_bjm visited it