Russell Square, which irs its present form dates from the beginning of the century, is the chief of the open spaces which are the distinguishing characteristic of Bloomsbury. The statue in the garden is that of Francis, fifth Duke of Bedford, with his hand resting on a plough, a really meritorious piece of work by Sir Richard Westmacott, erected in 1809. This is nearly opposite Bedford Place, which was built its the years 1801-5 on the site of Bedford House. Many celebrities, chiefly legal, have lived in the Square, and some of the houses have fine exteriors; but, although it is beautifully timbered, it ceased to be a centre of fashion when Society migrated to the West End.
source: The Queen's London : a Pictorial and Descriptive Record of the Streets, Buildings, Parks and Scenery of the Great Metropolis, 1896