This statue of George Peabody, born Danvers (1795–1869), American philanthropist and great benefactor of the London poor is unusual in that it was unveiled on the 23rd July 1869 by the then Prince of Wales, in the subject’s lifetime. Peabody was too ill to attend the ceremony and died 3 months later.
Peabody who was born in Massachusetts, started his career in dry goods and then banking. After moving to London he became the most noted American banker and helped to establish the young country’s international credit. He took on Junius Spencer Morgan as a partner in 1854, and their joint business would go on to become J P Morgan & Co. after Peabody retired. Later in life, Peabody became known for his philanthropy and formed the Peabody Trust in 1862. It is one of London’s oldest and largest housing associations with around 29,000 properties.
The statue was made by W.W Story, also an American who lived in Rome. He was, as well as being a sculptor, an art critic, poet, and editor.