Fanelli, Francesco (DNB00)

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FANELLI, FRANCESCO (fl. 1610–1665), statuary, a native of Florence, was celebrated in the reign of Charles I for his highly finished works in metal, which are considered as possessing higher finish, though less bold design, than the works of Hubert Le Soeur [q. v.] It is probable that he may have been among the foreign artists employed by Henry, prince of Wales, at Richmond; in this case he may have his catalogue of Charles I's works of art, and which are stated to have come to his majesty by the decease of Prince Henry. In the same collection are noted ‘a little running horse, Cupid sitting on, and another Cupid running by,’ and ‘a little St. George on horseback, with a dragon by,’ both of brass, and by the ‘one-eyed Italian Francisco Fanelli.’ He was in receipt of an annuity from the king, and enjoyed the title of ‘sculptor to the king of Great Britain.’ According to Sandrart, Fanelli first obtained the notice of the king from a small figure of Pygmalion wrought in ivory, and subsequently made many vases in ivory and marble, excelling, however, mostly in bronze. He was also patronised by William Cavendish, duke of Newcastle, who had several of his works at Welbeck, including a bust of Charles I, signed and dated 1640. Among other works by him, or ascribed to him, are the statues of Charles I and Henrietta Maria (perhaps really by Le Soeur), presented by Archbishop Laud to St. John's College, Oxford, where they stand in niches in the quadrangle; the monumental bust of Sir Robert Ayton in Westminster Abbey; the bronze bust of Charles I in the church at Hammersmith, and similar busts in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, Windsor Castle, and elsewhere; the bronze fountain at Hampton Court; and in marble the tomb of Lord Cottington in Westminster Abbey, and of Penelope Noel in Campden Church, Gloucestershire. About 1642 he appears to have gone to Paris, and there is no record of his having returned to England. In that year he published a set of engravings, entitled ‘Varie Architetture di Francesco Fanelli, Fiorentino, Scultore del Re della Gran Bretagna,’ containing twenty plates of fountains, &c.; another edition of this was published in 1661; the engravings have been stated to be by W. Faithorne the elder [q. v.], but the attribution does not appear to rest on better grounds than a casual surmise of Vertue. He published some other similar works, such as ‘Fontaines et Jets d'Eau dessinés d'après les plus beaux lieux d'Italie,’ and ‘Dessins de Grottes.’

[Walpole's Anecd. of Painting, ed. Dallaway and Wornum; Mariette's Abecedario; Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Guilmard's Les Maîtres Ornemanistes; Vertue's Cat. of King Charles I's Collection; Cal. State Papers, Dom. Ser. (8 May 1635).]

L. C.