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Early Georgian Portraits Catalogue

Peter Scheemakers (1691-1781), Sculptor

Sculptor; born in Antwerp, son of the sculptor of the same name; in London by 1721 working first with Francis Plumier and later with Francis Bird; in partnership, by 1725, with his countryman Laurent Delvaux with whom he visited Rome, 1728-30; his reputation established by the statue of Shakespeare, [1] 1740, in Westminster Abbey, after the design by Kent; a rival of Rysbrack, he had a large practice in monuments and busts; returned to Antwerp, 1771, where he died.
Included in Vertue's list of 'Gent ... five foot, men or less', [2] Nollekens records that at the end of his life Scheemakers was so fat that 'when he was kneeling down to say his prayers he placed his legs under him with his hands'. [3]

Footnotesback to top

1) G. Vertue, Vertue Note Books (edited by The Earl of Ilchester), Walpole Society, 1930-55, III, p 116; M. Whinney, Sculpture in Britain 1530-1830, 1964, pp 94-97.
2) G. Vertue, Vertue Note Books (edited by The Earl of Ilchester), Walpole Society, 1930-55, III, p 61; see also Samuel Scott.
3) J. T. Smith, Nollekens and His Times, II, p 40, cited by R. Gunnis, Dictionary of British Sculptors 1660-1851, 1953, p 342.

This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Kerslake, Early Georgian Portraits, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1977, and is as published then. For the most up-to-date details on individual Collection works, we recommend reading the information provided in the Search the Collection results on this website in parallel with this text.