Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 10.djvu/53

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Chantrey
Chantrey
45

showed artistic tastes, which were encouraged by J. Raphael Smith, the mezzotint engrayer, whom he met at Ramsay's. He began by drawing portraits and landscapes in pencil, and was taught carving in stone by a statuary. It is said that Ramsay discouraged for selfish reasons Chantrey's enorts, but Chantrey persevered, and hired a room near Ramsay's lor a few pence a week, where he spent his leisure in studying alone. In oil-painting he received his first instruction from Samuel James [q. v.], son of Samuel Arnold, the musician [q. v.] Among his earliest patrons at Sheffield were Messrs. Rhodes, Brammall, and Jackson, filemakers, and his talent seems to have soon attracted a good deal of local attention, for in 1 802 he was able to make a composition with Ramsay for the remaining period of his articles, and to set up as a portrait painter. He resided then at 24 Paradise Square, as appears from an advertisement in the Sheffield 'Trio' of 22 April 1802, in which he offered to execute 'portraits in crayons and miniatures' at from two to three guineas each. From a letter written in 1807 it is clear that he obtained five guineas for portraits before he left Sheffield. Of the Sheffield portraits seventy-two have been catalogued, and among his sitters were Thomas Fox, the village schoolmaster of Norton, and his son (in crayons), Ebenezer Rhodes, Miss Brammall, and her sister Mrs. Hall (in oils). He is said to have tried his fortune in Dublin and Edinburgh before he came to London, but these experiments must have been short if, as reported, he commenced studying at the Royal Academy in 1802. He was not admitted as a student, but was allowed to study for a limited time. It has been asserted that after he came to London he did not make 6/. for eight years ; but this is scarcely accurate, as he writes to his friend Ward in 1807 of eight portraits in his room nearly finished at twenty guineas each, and he did not leave off his professional visits to Sheffield till 1808. He also appears in 1803 to have been employed in carving in wood at five shillings a day for Bogaart, a German carver. Samuel Rogers, the banker and poet, had a table which Chantrey in after years, when dining with him, recognised as his work, and other early wood-carvings of his are on record. According to one of his biographers (Holland), he lived when in London in Curzon Street, Mayfair, at the house of a Mr. D'Oyley, in whose service were his uncle and aunt Wale, but the address 24 Curzon Street, Mayfair, does not occur in the Royal Academy catalogues till 1809. Before this it is (in l804) 7 Chapel Street West, Mayfair, (in 1806) 78 Strand, and (in 1806) 12 Charles Street, St. James's Square. In 1804 the painter of the picture numbered 837 is called T. Chantrey, but this is probably a misprint, as there can be little doubt that the 'Portrait of D. Wale, Esq.,' was the portrait of Chantrey's uncle, and was painted by the subject of this article — his first work exhibited at the Royal Academy, Although in 1807 he writes oi two pictures 'from the 3rd and 4th chapters of St. Luke,' he advertised in 1804 to take models from the life, and after this seems to have devoted himself almost exclusively to sculpture, his first commissions for busts coming from his Sheffield friends. That of the Rev. J. Wilkinson (1805-6), for the parish church at Sheffield, was the first he chiselled in marble. But he soon got commissions (at 10l. apiece) for colossal busts of admirals for Greenwich Hospital, and three of these, Howe, Duncan, and St. Vincent, were exhibited in 1809. In 1807 he wrote 'orders increase and marble costs money,' but now his struggles, however severe they may have been, were over, for in this year he married his cousin Miss Wale, who brought him property which has been valued at 10,000l. He then moved to a house of his own in Eccleston Street (No. 13), Pimlico, built two more houses, and a studio, and laid in a stock of marble. Next year he received one hundred guineas for a bust of Dr. John Brown, and competed successfully for the statue of George III for Guildhall. The year after he had six busts in the Royal Academy. He was then an ardent politician, and among these busts were those of Home Tooke and Sir Francis Burdett, for both of whom he had a great admiration. Another was of his old helper, J. Raphael Smith, which was perhaps that in which he is said to have rendered the listening expression of the deaf artist. Another was of Benjamin West, the president of the Royal Academy. Nollekens placed the bust of Horne Tooke between two of his own, and the prominence thus given to it is said to have had a marked influence on Chantrey's career. He received commissions at once amounting to 12,000l., and began to rise steadily to the head of his profession. About this time Allan Cunningham entered his employment as a hewer of statuary. In 1813 he raised his price for a bust to a hundred and fifty guineas, and in 1822 to two hundred, this sum wus exceeded by George IV, who in this year (1822) insisted on paying Chantrey three hundred guineas for his bust. It was to portrait sculpture that he owed his fortune and his fame, but the latter was augmented greatly by the grace and tender sentiment which he showed in his treatment