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Sir Francis Legatt Chantrey

1781 - 1841

Sir Francis Chantrey was a sculptor who made numerous busts and statues, including portraits of celebrated figures of Georgian England. Born in 1781 in Norton, Sheffield, he moved to London in 1802. In about 1810 he married a wealthy cousin with a large dowry, enabling him to establish a studio in London.

His work is lively and penetrating - at the same time it retains an air of informality and an independence from classicism. In 1821, after visiting Chantrey's studio, the poet Tom Moore said that he: "never saw such a set of thinking heads".

Chantrey made his name in 1811 with a plaster model of a bust of the radical politician Horne Tooke. In the same year, he won a competition to make a statue of George III, which was his first large-scale sculpture in marble. Commissions for his work became abundant from then on.

His best known pieces include a statue of the invetor James Watt, and busts of the poet William Wordsworth and the writer Sir Walter Scott. He was knighted in 1831. After his wife's death, he left his £150,000 fortune to the Royal Academy, founding the Chantrey bequest.