Statue of James II - Trafalgar Square, London, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Master Mariner
N 51° 30.509 W 000° 07.733
30U E 699236 N 5710281
Quick Description: James II of England (James VII of Scotland) was a King of England, Scotland & Ireland. He was the first Catholic monarch to reign over England since Mary I of England died in 1558 and over Scotland since the deposition of Mary I of Scotland in 1567.
Location: London, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 3/10/2012 11:52:14 AM
Waymark Code: WMDYPP
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member The Blue Quasar
Views: 8

Long Description:
The statue stands on top of a white stone plinth that is about 1.5 metres in height. The statue, cast from bronze, is about life size for a man of the 17th century. The king is shown wearing laurel leaves on his head and is wearing, for some unknown reason, the garb of a Roman. His left hand is resting on his left hip and his right arm is extending slightly away from his body with the forefinger extended and his middle finger crooked. His head is turned slightly to the right looking in the direction of his right hand. One noriceable feature is that he has a bit of a paunch!

The plinth is inscribed:
"Jacobus Secundus
Dei Gratia
Angliae Scotiae
Franciae et
Fidei Defensor
That translates as:
"James II, by the grace of God, King of England, Scotland, France and Ireland Defender of the Faith 1686".

The statue was sculpted by Grinling Gibbons or one of his pupils.

An article in the website mentions Gibbons and this statue:
"Gibbons then produced further standing figures of Charles, for the Royal Exchange (marble, 1683-84), and for the Royal Hospital, Chelsea (bronze, c.1686), and the diminutive bronze statue of King James II for Whitehall Palace. Jacobus Secundus is tricked out as a Roman emperor (alluding to virtue, if you please). That well-travelled statue was ‘temporarily’ erected outside the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square in 1948 and may still be seen there today."

Source: (visit link)

Further mention is made here:
"In front of the National Gallery is a bronze statue, again in Roman dress, of James II (1633 - 1701), king of England and second surviving son of Charles I. He was overthrown in 1688 by William of Orange, two years after the statue's erection. It has had a mobile past for it was first erected in Priory Gardens, removed to the centre of Whitehall, later to the forecourt of the Admiralty and then to its present site. Many regard this statue by Grinling Gibbons as a superior work to le Sueur’s statue of Charles I and it is a strong claimant to the title of the finest outdoor statue in London."

Source: (visit link)

A brief biography of James II:
"James II of England (James VII of Scotland), James Stuart, (October 14, 1633 - September 16, 1701), was a King of England, Scotland and Ireland. He was the first Catholic monarch to reign over England since Mary I of England died in 1558 and over Scotland since the deposition of Mary I of Scotland in 1567.

The third son of King Charles I, James was born at St. James's Palace in 1633 and created Duke of York in January 27, 1644. He spent much of his early life in exile, following the execution of his father during the English Civil War. James himself was rescued from confinement at St. James's Palace in London in April 1648 and was taken, in disguise, to The Hague. In 1652, he became an officer in the French army and saw active service under the Vicomte de Turenne. James's exile on the continent exposed him to Roman Catholicism, and he and his first wife eventually converted to that religion. Unfortunately for him, the English people viewed Catholicism with great fear and mistrust.

Return from exile
Despite his Catholicism, James returned from exile with his older brother Charles II. There was at this time little prospect of his becoming king, Charles being still a young man and more than capable of fathering legitimate children (in view of the number of illegitimate ones he already had). James reclaimed the title Duke of York.

As Duke of York he was heavily involved in the slave trade, the British end of it being monopolised by the Royal African Company, of which he was head, and which the Stuart family set up when they retook the throne in 1660. Thousands of his slaves were branded on the forehead with the letters 'DY'. As Lord High Admiral he commanded the navy, and a little-known fact is that the city of New York was named after him following its capture by English forces in 1664. The following year, he commanded the defeat of Dutch forces at the Battle of Lowestoft.

He suffered when the king was forced to introduce the Test Act of 1673, removing Catholics from official positions. For a period between 1679 and 1681, he remained in Scotland, where the religious controversy was made even more complex by the strength of the Presbyterians. James's activities there resulted in his becoming extremely unpopular.

When Charles died without a legitimate child, in his fifties, James was next in line for the thrones of both England and Scotland.

He succeeded on the throne on February 6, 1685. He was crowned on April 23, 1685, at Westminster Abbey. However, he never took the Scottish coronation oath.

Many people in Britain were extremely concerned about a Catholic monarch. Attempts had already been made, unsuccessfully, to exclude him from the succession. The first challenge to his kingship came as soon as June 11, 1685, when the Duke of Monmouth, an illegitimate son of King Charles II and a Protestant, arrived in the West Country and proclaimed himself king. He was defeated at the Battle of Sedgemoor on July 5 and executed at the Tower of London a few days later.

Despite the lack of popular support for Monmouth, the public's fears remained and were compounded by James's efforts to secure religious tolerance for all minorities, including Catholics, and by his apparent preference for Catholic officials, especially in Ireland. Public opinion became even more concerned when James tried to create a standing army. The activities of his officials, such as the notorious Judge Jeffreys (who had been responsible for rounding up Monmouth's supporters in the south-west), added to James's reputation for cruelty and thoughtlessness.

James married twice, firstly Anne Hyde in Breda on Nov 24, 1659. Anne has the distinction of being the last Englishwoman to marry the heir to the English throne before Lady Diana Spencer. She was the daughter of Edward Hyde, later Earl of Clarendon. Despite her respectable parentage, she was not considered a suitable wife, and the marriage was kept secret until Anne was visibly pregnant; in all they had eight children, but only two daughters survived."

Source: (visit link)
Monarch Ranking: King / Queen

Proper Title and Name of Monarch: King James II of England / King James VII of Scotland

Country or Empire of Influence: England, Scotland and Ireland

Website for additonal information: [Web Link]

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