Sir Francis Legatt Chantrey

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Chantrey, Sir Francis (1781–1841). English sculptor, born in Yorkshire. Although apprenticed to a woodcarver, Chantrey studied intermittently at the Royal Academy Schools, at first intending to be a portrait painter. About 1804, he decided to concentrate on sculpture and his bust of the radical politician John Horne Tooke (1811) made his reputation. He became, after Nollekens, the most successful sculptor of portrait busts in England. His simple and natural sculptures of children, especially The Sleeping Children in Lichfield cathedral, were enormously popular, though now may be considered mawkishly sentimental. In 1817 Chantrey became a Royal Academician and he was knighted in 1837. He bequeathed £105,000 to the Royal Academy, the interest to be used to buy ‘works of Fine Art of the highest merit executed within the shores of Great Britain’. The purchases, which have often caused controversy, are housed in the Tate Gallery (London).

June Cochrane

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