Delvaux, Laurent (DNB00)

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DELVAUX, LAURENT (1695–1778), sculptor, born at Ghent in 1695, received his first lessons in sculpture from Gery Helderberg, a sculptor at Ghent. In his twenty-second year he came to England about the same time as Scheemakers [q. v.], and they both worked for Pierre Denis Plumier, a sculptor, who had come from Antwerp to settle in London, and died there in 1721; subsequently they both worked as assistants to Francis Bird [q. v.] In August 1728 Delvaux, Scheemakers, and Angelis [q. v.] left England for Rome; here Delvaux found employment, especially from the Portuguese minister, and did not return till 1733, two years after his two friends. He soon went to Brussels with a letter from Pope Clement XII to the papal nuncio there, through whom he became in 1734 chief sculptor to the Archduchess Marie Elizabeth and to the emperor Charles VI. On the death of that emperor he became in 1750 chief sculptor to Charles, duke of Lorraine. He resided chiefly at Nivelles, and died there 24 Feb. 1778. Among his works executed in England were the bronze lion, formerly an ornament of Northumberland House, and now at Sion House, Isleworth; a marble statue of Hercules, six feet high, executed for Lord Castlemaine; a bronze statue of Venus at Holkham, &c. For the flower garden at Stowe, Delvaux and Scheemakers, between whom there seems to have been a friendly rivalry, executed two marble groups of Vertumnus and Pomona and Venus and Adonis. They also co-operated in the monuments erected in Westminster Abbey to the Duke of Buckingham, in which Delvaux executed the figure of Time, and to Dr. Hugo Chamberlain (put up in August 1731). There are many important works by him at Brussels, Ghent, Nivelles, and other towns in Belgium. On his return from Rome, while in England, his portrait was painted by Isaac Whood, and engraved in mezzotint by Alexander van Haecken. In 1823 a bust of Delvaux by his pupil, Godecharle, was set up in the council room of the Academy at Ghent. On 5 May 1868 a collection of Delvaux's works was dispersed by auction at Brussels.

[Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Walpole's Anecdotes of Painters, ed. Dallaway and Wornum; Nagler's Künstler-Lexikon; Immerzeel's Levens en Werken der Hollandsche en Vlaamsche Kunstschilders, &c.; Vertue's MSS. (Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 23069–76); J. T. Smith's Nollekens and his Times; Siret's Journal des Beaux-Arts, 11 April 1868.]

L. C.