Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Carew, John Edward

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CAREW, JOHN EDWARD (1785?–1808), sculptor, was born at Waterford about 1785. He received some instruction in art at Dublin, and afterwards came to London. In 1809 he became an assistant to Sir Richard Westmacott, the sculptor, remaining with him till 1825. During the last ten or twelve years that he was with Westmacott he was receiving from 800l. to 1,000l. a year as salary, and had also studio of his own. In 1823 Carew was introduced to Lord Egremont, who invited him to devote his talents almost exclusively to his service. From that year until 1831 Carew, who continued to live in London, was employed on various works for his new patron. In 1831 he established himself in Brighton, and was frequently at Lord Egremont's house at Petworth. In 1835 he went to live at Grove House, near Petworth, a residence granted him by Egremont at a nominal rent, and there he remained until his patron's death in November 1837. Between 1828 and 1837 Carew was occupied in producing various groups, statues, busts, &c., in marble, many of which were made expressly for Lord Egremont for Petworth. The most important of these works were a status of Huskisson, erected in Chichester Cathedral; an altar-piece (the ‘Baptism of our Saviour') for the Roman catholic chapel at Brighton; a statue called ‘Arethusa,' and mother called ‘The Falconer;’ a statue of Adonis; a group of Vulcan and Venus; a group of Prometheus, and busts of various private persons. He first appeared as an exhibitor st the Royal Academy in 1830, when he sent ‘Model of a Gladiator,’ ‘Bear in the Arena,’ and ‘Theseus and Minotaur.' In each of the years 1882, 1884, and 1836 he also sent two busts to the Academy. Upon Lord Egremont's death in 1887, Carew, who was not mentioned in the will, made a claim upon the estate of 50,000l., a sum due to him (accordinq to his contention) for various works supplied to Egremont. This claim was resisted by Egremont’s executors, and Carew accordingly brought an action against them to recover his 50,000l. The cause (Carew v. Burrell and another) was tried at the Sussex spring assises held at Lewes on 18 March Counsel for the plaintiff called Sir R. Westmascott and Sir Francis Chantrey, both of whom spoke of Carew’s Petworth statues as works of the highest talent; and for these statues, Carew's counsel alleged, no direct payments had ever been made, though the sculptor had abandoned a lucrative profession in order to work entirely for Lord Egremont. In reply to this the defendants asserted that Egremont had during his lifetime paid every sixpence which he ever owed to Carew. They stated they had succeeded in tracing cheques for 13,721l. 7s. 5d. paid by Egremont to Carew, and the receipt of these cheques Carew was subsequently forced to admit. The defendants also contended that a further sum of 4,760l. had been paid; that some of the works were not ordered by Egremont but by others; and that the plaintiff's business as a sculptor had been insignificant. Plaintiff's counsel was compelled to agree to a nonsuit for his client. After the trial Carew was declared insolvent, an in December 1841, and in January, February, and May 1842, his pecuniary affairs had to undergo a further searching examination in the bankruptcy court.

In 1839 Carew exhibited at the Academy a marble bas-relief, 'The Good Samaritan,' in an ‘Angel' from a monumental group; and in 1843, 1845, and 1848 some busts. In addition to these works, he executed a statue of Kean, a well-known status of ‘Whittington listens to the London Bells,’ and designed ‘The Death of Nelson at Trafalgar,' one of the four reliefs in bronze which decorate the pedestal of Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square. During his latter years Carew was living in London, but an increasing dimness of eyesight interfered with his work as a sculptor. He died on 30 Nov. 1868. Carew was married, and was the father of several children.

[Report of the Trial of Cause Carew against Burrell, London, 1840; Report of the Proceedings in the Court for the Relief of Insolvent Debtors in the matter of John Edward Carew, London, 1842 (both reports privately printed from the shorthand writers' notes); Men of the Time, 1885, 1888, 1884; Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Nagler's Künstler-Lexikon, 1835.]

W. W.