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Sir Francis Leggatt Chantrey

(1781-1841), Sculptor

Sitter in 11 portraits
Artist associated with 267 portraits
Though destined to become one of the most famous sculptors of his age, Chantrey began life as a painter. In his memoirs the artist Charles Robert Leslie remembered Chantrey as 'handsome (his mouth exceedingly beautiful) with a bluff John Bull look'. The most outstanding sculptor of his generation, Chantrey executed portrait busts, public monuments and memorials. His success was the result of his study of character, combining direct observation with simplicity of form. Chantrey had little formal training. He was born of a poor family in Sheffield and only established himself in fashionable society in 1809 when he married into money and set up a studio in London. In 1811, the exhibition of his bust of the radical John Horne Tooke made his name. For the rest of his life Chantrey never wanted for commissions. He left a fortune to the National Gallery for the promotion of contemporary British art.

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