Thomas Banks


The eminent sculptor Thomas Banks has a memorial tablet in the nave of Westminster Abbey. He produced five monuments which are in the Abbey ie. Isaac Watts, Clifton Wintringham, Eyre Coote, John Gideon Loten and William Woollett. The inscription reads:

In memory of Thomas Banks Esqr. R.A. Sculptor; whose superior abilities in his profession added a lustre to the arts of this country, and whose character as a man reflected honour on human nature. His earthly remains were deposited by his desire on the north side of the churchyard of Paddington. His spirit is with God. He died Febry. 2 1805 aged 70 years

His life

He was born in London on 22nd December 1735, a son of William Banks, a landscape gardener and surveyor, and his wife Mary. He was educated at Ross on Wye and then worked for his father who was supervising the building of Badminton House. He taught him the basics of architecture and drawing. After being apprenticed to a wood carver in London Thomas studied in the Scheemakers studio.

On 31st August 1766 he married Elizabeth Hooton and they had a daughter Lavinia. His sculptures won prizes and his brother Charles became his assistant. His brother Mark had become an architect. He travelled in Italy and Russia and on returning to England produced many church memorials. He is said to be the founding father of the British school of art.

Further reading

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004

Thomas Banks 1735-1805 Britain's first modern sculptor by Julius Bryant, 2005, exhibition at Sir John Soane's Museum. 


22nd December 1735


2nd February 1805





Memorial Type


Thomas Banks
Thomas Banks memorial

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2024 Dean and Chapter of Westminster