Legrew, James (DNB00)

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LEGREW, JAMES (1803–1857), sculptor, born at Caterham, Surrey, in 1803, was son of James Legrew, rector of that parish. He was descended from a family of Huguenot refugees settled as weavers in Spitalfields. Legrew was well educated, and acquired a good knowledge of foreign languages, including Hebrew and Syriac. His tastes led him, however, to adopt art as a profession, and he was placed under Sir Francis Leggatt Chantrey [q. v.] to study sculpture. He also became a student of the Royal Academy, where he gained the silver medal in 1824, and the gold medal in 1829, for a group of 'Cassandra dragged from the Altar of Minerva,' which he exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1830. In 1826 he sent 'A Sleeping Boy.' and was a frequent exhibitor in subsequent years. From 1840 to 1842 he travelled in Italy, and worked for some time at Rome. On his return he resided in Ebury Street, Pimlico, removing thence to St. Albania Road, Kensington. He sent to the Westminster Hall competition in 1844 two works, 'The Last Prayer of Ajax' and 'Milton dictating to his Daughters.' He executed several busts and groups, such as 'Samson breaking his Bonds,' 'The Murder of the Innocents,' &c. Unfortunately his mind failed, and he committed suicide at his house in Kensington on 15 Sept. 1857. He was unmarried.

[Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Graves's Dict. of Artists, 1760-1880; Royal Academy Catalogues; private information.]

L. C.