William Shakespeare Monument, 1894
William Ordway Partridge
West of North Stockton Avenue on axis with West Belden Avenue
After winning the competition to create a memorial to William Shakespeare (1564-1616), artist and one-time actor William Ordway Partridge (1861-1930) devoted himself to researching the Bard’s life, the customs of Elizabethan England, the available portraits of Shakespeare, including a death mask, and the type of costume that would be appropriate for his portrait. Funded by north side businessman Samuel Johnston in his will, the monument was to be placed in Lincoln Park but Partridge was able to display a plaster model in the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. It was cast in bronze in Paris, shipped to Chicago, and unveiled by the donor’s grandniece, Miss Cornelia Williams, on April 23, 1894.
The low pedestal includes a quotation from Hamlet and a statement by Samuel T. Coleridge: “He was not for an age but for all time, our myriad-minded Shakespeare.” The size of the base allows for close and careful viewing and reveals Partridge’s sensitive portrayal of the man himself as well as his attention to the details of his attire.