Gosset, Isaac (1713-1799) (DNB00)

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GOSSET, ISAAC, the elder (1713–1799), an able modeller of portraits in wax, was born in 1713, and belonged to a family that fled from Normandy to Jersey at the revocation of the edict of Nantes, and afterwards settled in London. He contributed to the first artists' exhibition in 1760 and was a member of the Incorporated Society of Artists, contributing twenty-four portraits to their exhibitions between 1760 and 1778. Several of his wax models are still in Windsor Castle, and some in Lady Charlotte Schreiber's collection in South Kensington Museum. Among these are cameo portraits of George II and the Princess Dowager of Wales. He made numerous portraits in wax of the royal family and of distinguished Englishmen. Among these may be mentioned: 1. Bishop Hoadly, 1756 (Nichols, Lit. An. iii. 140; and see Lit. Illustr. viii. 570). 2. Charles Townshend, chancellor of the exchequer. 3. Frederick, prince of Wales (Nos. 1–3 were in the possession of Horace Walpole: Notes and Queries, 3rd ser. vi. 516; Walpole, Works, 4to, 1798, ii. 432–3). 4. Richard Trevor, bishop of Durham (Nichols, Lit. An., ix. 241). 5. Francis Hutcheson the philosopher; from this model, produced under the direction of Basil Hamilton, earl of Selkirk, a cast medal was made by Antonio Selvi (Med. Illustr. ii. 621; T. Hollis, Memoirs, ii. 833). 6. General Wolfe. 7. Earl of Mansfield (from the models 6 and 7 John Kirk made medals, see Med. Illustr., ii. 706, and Cochran-Patrick, Cat. Med. Scot., pp. 105, 268, where the notice of ‘C. Gossett’ is erroneous). 8. Profile of Mrs. Delany, made about 1776. In 1862 this was in the possession of Lady Llanover (Autobiog. &c. of Mrs. Delany, 2nd ser., ii. 225). Peter Cunningham possessed four medallions, in yellow wax on a claret ground, of Henry Pelham, George Grenville, Robert Carteret (Lord Granville), and the Duke of Grafton, which he attributed to Gosset (Notes and Queries, 3rd ser., vi. 516). Gosset used a wax composition of his own invention, the secret of which he is not known to have divulged. His only son was Dr. Isaac Gosset, the bibliographer [q. v.] He died at Kensington on 28 Nov. 1799, and was buried in the old Marylebone Cemetery. He is described (Gent. Mag.) as a man of amiable character.

His uncle, Matthew Gosset (1683–1744), was also a modeller in wax. He was one of the gentlemen of the band of pensioners to King George II, and a member of the Spalding Society.

[Gent. Mag. 1799, vol. lxix., pt. 2, pp. 1088–9; Notes and Queries, 2nd ser. vii. 365, 3rd ser. vi. 516; references in Nichols's Lit. Anecd. under ‘Isaac’ and ‘Matthew’ Gosset; Nichols's Lit. Illustr. viii. 570; Hawkins's Medallic Illustr. (ed. Franks and Grueber), ii. 621, 706, 726; Cochran-Patrick's Cat. of the Medals of Scotland, pp. 105, 268; Redgrave's Dict of Artists of Engl. School.]

W. W.