William Shakespeare was the first sculpture of a writer to be placed on the Mall, known informally as Literary Walk. It is fitting that two famous nineteenth-century actors, James Morrison Steele MacKay and Edwin Booth, were involved with the sculptor to create this monument to the world-renowned dramatist. Edwin Booth, America's most famous Shakespearean actor, laid the cornerstone and advised Ward on the appropriate costume for a gentleman in Elizabethan England. MacKay, a good friend of Ward, was the model and suggested the pensive pose. The sculpture was donated by the citizens of New York, led by a committee to honor the 300th anniversary of the birth of the poet and dramatist in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1564. Shakespeare is one of four sculptures by Ward in Central Park; the others are the Pilgrim at East 73rd Street near the north drive, Seventh Regiment at the West Drive at 67th Street, and Indian Hunter.
South end of the Mall/Literary Walk, at East 66th Street.
Sculptor: John Quincy Adams Ward (1830-1910)
Architect: Jacob Wrey Mould, pedestal
Placed in Park: 1872
Material: Bronze on granite pedestal
Donor: Shakespeare Tricentennial Committee