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FRANCIS CHANTREY, SCULPTOR. A man of genius and taste, Gray the self in making resemblances of various poet, lamented that his native country objects in clay, and to this employhad made no advance in sculpture. ment he was much attached. But his This reproach has been removed, and affection thus early shown for art was removed too by a masterly hand. but a matter of amusement-he calThose who wish to trace the return culated as little of the
scope it presents of English sculpture from the foreign ed to the ambition of genius, as he was artificial and allegorical style, to its unconscious that it was the path which natural and original character-from nature had prepared for his fame. cold and conceited fiction to tender The day named for commencing his and elevated truth, will find it chief- new profession arrived, and with the ly in the history of Francis Chantrey usual cagerness of youth for novelty, and his productions. Of him, and of he reached Sheffield a full hour soonthem, we shall try to render some ac- er than his friends had appointed to count. For it is instructive to follow meet him. As he walked up and the progress of an original and power down the street, expecting their ful mind, from the rudeness of its coming, his attention was attracted by early conceptions, till it comes forth some figures in the window of one with native and unborrowed might in Ramsay, a carver and gilder. He creations of grace, and beauty, and stopped to examine them, and was not dignity.
without those emotions which original Francis Chantrey was born at Nor- minds feel in seeing something congeton, a small village on the borders of nial. He resolved at once to become Derbyshire, on the 7th of April, 1782. an artist; and perhaps, even then, His ancestors were in respectable if associated his determination with those not opulent circumstances, and some ideas and creations of beauty from heritable possessions still belong to the which his name is now inseparable. family. He was deprived of his father Common wonder is fond of attributing very early in life, and being an only the first visible impulse of any extrachild, was educated by his mother ordinary mind to some singular cirwith abundance of tenderness and soli- cumstance, but nothing can be better citude. He attended the school at Nor. authenticated than the fact which deton—but of his progress there, we have cided the destiny of his talents. What been unable to obtain any particular his friends thought of his sudden reaccount. Education and agriculture solution it is useless to inquire-we shared his time between them till his have heard that they did not condole seventeenth year; and a farmer's edu. with him, like the illustrious Burns cation is not always the most liberal. over the pursuits of Fergusson : About this time he became weary of
“ Thy glorious parts the pursuits of his forefathers, and re- Il suited laws dry musty arts." solved to study the law under a re- The labours in which Ramsay emspectable solicitor at Sheffield. Whe- ployed him were too limited for his ther this was his own choice or that of powers; his hours of leisure were therehis relations we have not learned, and fore dedicated to modelling and drawit matters not, for another destiny ing, and he always preferred copying awaited him. To accident, we owe nature. He had no other idea of style much of what we are willing to attri- but that with which nature supplied bute to our wisdom; and, certainly to him he had his own notions of art pure accident, we owe whatever de- and of excellence to rough-hew for light we have received from the pro- himself, and the style and character ductions of Mr Chantrey.
he then formed, he pursues with sucDuring the hours of intermission cess now. These we have learned from labour at the farm, and instruc. were much more pleasant speculations tion at the school, he had amused him to him than to Ramsay, who, incensed VOL. VII.