Spence, Benjamin Edward (DNB00)

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SPENCE, BENJAMIN EDWARD (1822–1866), sculptor, was born in Liverpool in 1822. His father, William Spence, who was born in Chester, contributed to the Liverpool and the Manchester exhibitions, and in 1842 and 1844 to the Royal Academy; but later in life he became a partner in a business house in Liverpool, and abandoned the profession. He died in Liverpool on 6 July 1849, aged 56 years. The younger Spence, at the age of sixteen, successfully executed a portrait bust of William Roscoe [q. v.], and in 1846 he was awarded the Heywood silver medal and 5l. in money by the council of the Royal Manchester Institution for a group in clay of the death of the Duke of York at Agincourt. His father was then persuaded by his old friend, John Gibson, R.A., to send the young sculptor to Rome. Here he entered the studio of R. J. Wyatt, and also received much help from Gibson. Between 1849 and 1867 he contributed to the exhibition of the Royal Academy five times—in 1850 Ophelia, in 1856 ‘Venus and Cupid,’ in 1861 Hippolytus, and in 1867 ‘The Parting of Hector and Andromache.’ To the International Exhibition of 1862 he contributed two works, ‘Finding of Moses’ and ‘Jeanie Deans before Queen Caroline,’ and to the French International Exhibition of 1855 ‘Highland Mary.’ Many works of his that were not exhibited in England were engraved in the ‘Art Journal.’ He was not an artist of great originality, but his work has elegance and feeling. He died at Leghorn on 21 Oct. 1866.

[Redgrave's Dict. of Artists of English School; Art Journal, 1866, p. 364; Graves's Dict. of Artists; Exhibition Catalogues.]

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