Stone, Nicholas (DNB00)
|←Stone, John Hurford||Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 54
STONE, NICHOLAS (1586–1647), mason, statuary, and architect, born at Woodbury, near Exeter, in 1586, was the son of a quarryman. He came to London early, and was apprenticed for two years to Isaac James, a mason, whom he also served for one year as a journeyman. He then went to Holland, and worked as a stonemason in Amsterdam under Pieter de Keyser, son of Hendrik de Keyser, the celebrated sculptor. He is recorded to have designed and built a portico to the Westerkerk in Amsterdam, and to have gained thereby the hand of his master's daughter and also a share in a stone quarry in the Isle of Portland in which De Keyser had a large interest. Stone returned to England before 1614, from which date he had a large practice as a mason and statuary, especially for monuments and similar works. Stone was employed by James I at Holyrood, St. James's Palace, Whitehall, Somerset House, Nonsuch, Theobalds, and Greenwich. He appears to have carried out, as mason, several designs of Inigo Jones, such as the Banqueting House, Whitehall, the watergates of Somerset House, and York House (in which works he was assisted by his brother-in-law, Andreas Kearne [q. v.]), and the portico to the old St. Paul's Cathedral. At Oxford he designed and executed the porch of St. Mary's Church and the gates of the Physick Garden. In 1619 he was made master-mason to James I, and in April 1626 he received a patent from Charles I as master-mason and architect at Windsor Castle (Rymer, Fœdera, xviii. 675). As architect he designed, or rebuilt, Cornbury House, near Oxford, and Tart Hall in St. James's Park.
Stone is best known for his monuments, which are in the late debased Renaissance style, known as Jacobean. In some of them he was associated with Bernard Janssens or Jansen [q. v.], Stone contributing the figures (or ‘pictures’) only, as in the tomb of Sir Nicholas Bacon and his lady in Redgrave church, Suffolk. Among other tombs made by Stone were those of Henry Howard, earl of Northampton, set up in Dover Castle (1615), and afterwards removed; of Thomas Sutton at the Charterhouse (1615) and Sir Thomas Bodley at Oxford (1615); of Sir Charles Morrison and other members of his family in St. Mary's Church at Watford, Hertfordshire; of Dr. John Donne in a winding-sheet to St. Paul's Cathedral, one of the few tombs which survived the great fire of 1666. For Westminster Abbey Stone made the tombs of Francis Holles, Sir George Holles, Sir Richard Cox, Isaac Casaubon, the Countess of Buckingham, and Dudley Carleton, viscount Dorchester. The well-known tomb of Sir Julius Cæsar in St. Helen's, Bishopsgate, is by Stone; and he made those of Sir Adam Newton at Charlton in Kent, Lord-chief-justice Coke at Tittleshall in Norfolk, Sir Robert Drury at Hawstead, Suffolk, and many others. An account-book of Stone, in which details of many such works are recorded, seems to have been given by his son-in-law, Charles Stoakes, to George Vertue [q. v.], and was purchased, with other manuscripts belonging to Vertue, by Horace Walpole. At the Strawberry Hill sale it was purchased by Sir John Soane, and is now in the Soane Museum, Lincoln's Inn Fields. In 1645 he published ‘Enchiridion of Fortification; or, a Handful of Knowledge in Martial Affairs …,’ London, 1645, 8vo, illustrated by engravings. Stone, whose work was considerably affected by the outbreak of the civil war, resided in Long Acre, and died there on 24 Aug. 1647, aged 61. He was buried on 28 Aug. in the church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, and was followed thither on 22 Nov. by his wife Mary, by whom he was the father of three sons.
Henry Stone (d. 1653), the eldest son, went to Holland, France, and Italy to study art, and returned in 1642. After his father's death he and his youngest brother carried on their father's business of mason and statuary. Stone was, however, chiefly known as a painter, and has acquired note as one of the most successful copyists of the works of Vandyck. He also copied Italian pictures with success. A slight work on painting, entitled ‘The Third Part of the Art of Painting,’ was compiled by him. Stone inherited his father's house and workyard in Long Acre, and died there on 24 Aug. 1653. He was buried on 27 Aug. near his father in St. Martin's Church, and on his inscription it is stated that he had passed the greatest part of thirty-seven years in Holland, France, and Italy. He is usually known as ‘Old Stone’ to distinguish him from his younger brothers. His portrait was painted by Sir Peter Lely.
Nicholas Stone, the younger (d. 1647), second son of Nicholas Stone, practised as a mason and statuary. In 1638 he accompanied his brother Henry to France and Italy, and a journal of his is preserved in the British Museum (Harl. MS. 4049). He worked there for a short time under the celebrated sculptor Bernini, and made many drawings of architecture and sculpture. He died at his father's house on 17 Sept. 1647, a few weeks after his father, and was buried on 20 Sept. in the same grave in St. Martin's Church. A portrait of him was in the possession of Colley Cibber.
John Stone (d. 1667), youngest son of Nicholas Stone the elder, was educated at Westminster school and at Oxford, being intended for the church as a profession. On the outbreak of the civil wars, however, he entered the army on the king's side, and, after a defeat, narrowly escaped being hanged. Having lain concealed for several months in his father's house in Long Acre, he made his escape to France, and eventually succeeded to his father's house and profession in Long Acre, as the last survivor of his family. When the Restoration became imminent he went to Breda to petition the king for a post as master-mason or surveyor, but was seized there with illness, from which he died a few years later in Holy Cross Hospital, near Winchester. He was buried on 11 Sept. 1667, as ‘Captain Stone,’ with his kinsfolk in St. Martin-in-the Fields.
Portraits of Nicholas Stone the elder (from a medallion), Nicholas Stone the younger, and Henry Stone (after Sir Peter Lely) were engraved in Walpole's ‘Anecdotes of Painting’ (ed. 1798).[Walpole's Anecdotes of Painting, ed. Wornum; Vertue's Diaries (Brit. Mus. Addit. MSS. 23068, &c.); Pycroft's Art in Devonshire; Notes and Queries, 5th ser. ii. 465, 8th ser. xi. 402; Registers of St. Martin-in-the-Fields; Some Sculptural Works of Nicholas Stone, by A. E. Bullock, 1908; Papworth's Dict. of Architecture.]