William Behnes (1795-1864): A Master of Neoclassical Portraiture and Royal Sculptures

William Behnes (1795-1864) was a prominent British sculptor known for his exceptional talent and contributions to the world of neoclassical and portrait sculpture during the 19th century.

Born on July 12, 1795, in London, England, Behnes showed an early interest and aptitude for art. He began his artistic education at the Royal Academy Schools, where he studied under the renowned sculptor Sir Francis Chantrey.

Behnes gained recognition for his skill as a portrait sculptor, creating lifelike and expressive busts and statues of prominent figures of his time. He sculpted several members of the British Royal Family, including Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, solidifying his reputation as a distinguished sculptor in high demand.

His works were characterized by a refined neoclassical style, with an emphasis on capturing the likeness and character of his subjects. Behnes' attention to detail and ability to convey a sense of realism and emotion in his sculptures made him highly regarded among his contemporaries.

In addition to his portrait work, Behnes created several public monuments and statues that can be found in various locations across the United Kingdom. One of his notable works is the monument to William Pitt the Younger, erected in Hanover Square, London.

Despite his success, William Behnes faced financial difficulties throughout his career, and he declared bankruptcy in 1852. This setback impacted his artistic output, and he produced fewer sculptures in the latter part of his life.

William Behnes passed away on January 3, 1864, leaving behind a legacy of exceptional sculptural works that continue to be admired for their artistry and historical significance. His contributions to the art world during the neoclassical era remain a testament to his talent and skill as a sculptor who brought life and beauty to stone and bronze.
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