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Chantrey, Sir Francis Leggattlocked

  • Timothy Stevens

Sir Francis Leggatt Chantrey (1781–1841)

by Thomas Phillips, 1818

Chantrey, Sir Francis Leggatt (1781–1841), sculptor, was born at Jordanthorpe, Norton, Derbyshire, on 7 April 1781 and baptized in Norton parish church on 27 May, the younger son of Francis Chantrey (1748/9–1793), a tenant farmer and carpenter of Norton, and his wife, Sarah, née Leggatt (1745/6–1826).

Early years and the establishment of a local reputation

Following a rudimentary village school education and a spell as a grocer's assistant, Chantrey chose in 1797 a seven-year apprenticeship with Robert Ramsay (1754–1828), a decorative carver, gilder, and dealer in prints and casts after the antique in nearby Sheffield. Encouraged by Ramsay's lodger, the engraver and portrait painter John Raphael Smith (1752–1812), he broke his indentures in 1802 in order to pursue a career as a portrait painter. For the next five years or so, with some training in drawing from his friend Jonathan Wilson (a medal engraver), in painting from Samuel James, and in stone carving, he worked as a portrait painter and modeller of busts, advertising both services in the local press.

Chantrey moved between Sheffield and London, where he based himself with some relatives, Daniel Wale and his wife (his future parents-in-law), the butler and housekeeper respectively of Mrs D'Oyley, the wealthy granddaughter of Sir Hans Sloane. In 1803 he also carved for 5s. a day for Frederick Bogaert, a London cabinet-maker who worked for the collector Thomas Hope and the poet Samuel Rogers. Early busts of Sheffield sitters include William Younge MD (exh. RA, 1805) and Mr Hunt, a drawing teacher. More than seventy portraits survive, or are recorded, among them Daniel Wale, his first Royal Academy exhibit (1804), and one of his friend the Sheffield journalist Thomas Asline Ward (1781–1871) (Mappin Art Gallery, Sheffield), who introduced him to local organizations, notably the Society for Mutual Improvement. Ward described him as 'a modest unassuming, well-behaved young man' (Peeps into the Past, 59). Metropolitan portraiture was more lucrative: in 1807 Chantrey told Ward, 'At this time I have in my room eight portraits … twenty five guineas each, which answers better than painting portraits in Sheffield for five guineas each' (Holland, 83). Around 1808 he gave up portrait painting to concentrate on sculpture.

In late 1805 came Chantrey's first public commission, the monument to a local celebrity, the Revd James Wilkinson (1731–1805), vicar of Sheffield, whose plaster bust, based on a death mask, Chantrey had already made (exh. RA, 1805). The organizing committee insisted that the new bust of the vicar in robes and bands (1806; Sheffield Cathedral) be carved under their eyes. The result, said to be both the first marble bust carved by Chantrey and the first marble ever carved in the town, is a remarkable achievement for an effectively self-taught artist. Naturalistic in approach, it shows little trace of the neo-classical style then fashionable in London. Chantrey now enjoyed local fame. The critic, William Carey, in Sheffield to lobby for him to execute a Nelson memorial for the town, remarked on the 'power of his hand in executing what he sees, and the readiness of his eye in catching a likeness' (Holland, 192–3).

The winning of a national reputation

Wanting perhaps to hone his skills, Chantrey attended the Royal Academy Schools in 1807 but never registered as a student. His sole exhibit at the academy in 1808, a bust of Satan—a rare excursion into ideal sculpture—persuaded an architect, Daniel Alexander (1768–1846), to commission, at 10 guineas each, colossal plaster busts of four naval heroes, admirals Duncan, Howe, Nelson, and St Vincent (NMM), for his additions to the Queen's House.

Gradually Chantrey established a metropolitan reputation. By late 1809 he had a prestigious commission from an unknown client for a bust of George III, for which the king gave sittings. He competed for the Treasury committee of taste's commission for the monument to Sir John Moore for St Paul's Cathedral (won by John Bacon junior). Marriage to his cousin Mary Anne Wale (1787–1875) on 23 November 1809 had a profound effect. It brought a substantial dowry, said to be about £10,000—probably partly supplied by Mrs D'Oyley—with which he purchased 13 Eccleston Street (later called Lower Belgrave Place), Pimlico, his home until his death, and financed the construction and running of an adjoining studio. His career gathered pace.

1810 saw Chantrey exhibiting at the Royal Academy his first bust of a national leader, William Pitt, commissioned by Trinity House (destroyed in the Second World War). By the year's end he had modelled busts of the elderly radical John Horne Tooke (1736–1812) (marble, 1818; FM Cam.) and his friend Sir Francis Burdett (plaster model, AM Oxf.). Stephens, Tooke's biographer, thought the ailing Tooke in coat and nightcap 'fearfully like' (Stephens, 2.411). For Chantrey, Tooke was 'one of the wisest and most judicious friends he ever encountered' (Fraser's Magazine, 41, 1850, 456), and he took his advice that a successful career depended on political neutrality. Chantrey's assistant Henry Weekes (1807–1877) later remarked: 'No one knew what were his politics: as far as one could tell he was an ultra-Liberal, for he was for all parties' (Weekes, 307).

1811 was Chantrey's annus mirabilis. In April he won the commission for a statue of George III for the Guildhall from the City of London (destroyed in the Second World War), for which the agreed fee was £2100. Indicative of his modest reputation, he was required to provide sureties for this demonstration of the City's patriotism. Six plaster busts in a fresh, new, realistic style shown at the Royal Academy, including Benjamin West, PRA (marble, 1818; RA), John Raphael Smith (marble, 1825; V&A), John Horne Tooke, and Sir Francis Burdett, were a triumph. Joseph Nollekens, the doyen of the portrait bust, was captivated by that of Horne Tooke and in order to accord it a better position had one of his own moved. Chantrey later stated that the Horne Tooke bust brought £12,000 worth of commissions. Thomas Johnes (1748–1816), of Hafod, Cardiganshire, an agricultural improver and a patron of the sculptor Thomas Banks (1735–1805), recognized Chantrey's talent immediately. In 1811 he commissioned both his own bust (NMG Wales) and an ambitious monument to his only child, Mariamne (formerly at Hafod, destroyed by fire in 1932), for which the agreed fee was £3150. Helped by the painter Thomas Stothard, Chantrey designed a simple, moving tableau vivant of a deathbed scene, dressing the three life-size participants in recognizable but streamlined contemporary dress treated in a neo-classical manner: the dying daughter lies on a couch, watched over by her stoical father and prostrated mother. Chantrey abandoned the eighteenth century's traditional allegorical trappings and used a direct style to express private grief, matching contemporary taste for the natural and for antique simplicity. He told Henry Russell: 'I hate allegory, it is a clumsy way of telling a story … To produce any real effect, we must copy man, we must represent his actions, and display his emotions' (Jones, 301). His personal style was now formed and changed little.

Technique, charges, and studio management

How did 'the greatest bust maker', according to Haydon—an acerbic critic (Diary, ed. Pope, 3.397)—create such speaking likenesses? To find a characteristic pose and expression he began by watching his sitters informally, preferably with their friends. For the modelling of Sir Walter Scott, his most popular bust (1820; Abbotsford, Roxburgh), Chantrey stipulated 'that [Scott] should breakfast with me, always before his sittings, and never come along alone, nor bring more than three friends at once, and that they should all be good talkers' (letter to Sir Robert Peel, GM, new ser., 17, 1842, 259). With the aid of a camera lucida devised by his friend the scientist William Wollaston, he first made three drawings—profile, three-quarters, and full face—from which the workshop prepared a basic clay model. After about six sittings Chantrey had modelled this rough clay into a finished bust. A plaster cast was made from this, and with the aid of a pointing machine a marble bust was roughed out which he and his assistants worked up. Further sittings might be arranged so that he could make final adjustments to the marble with the sitter present. If he felt that the eyes took the lead in the expression of a sitter's personality he would carve in the pupils. The character of the sitter determined the treatment of the shoulders. Since he was young and handsome, the bust of Edward Johnstone (marble, 1819; Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham), the illegitimate son of Richard Colley, Marquess Wellesley, was given an almost half-length nude torso. For Sir Walter Scott a tartan plaid was predictable, while the scientist Mary Somerville (marble; ordered 1833; RS) has a simple broad collar.

To meet the demand for busts, statues, and church monuments Chantrey built up a skilled workforce, with around ten assistants being employed from 1814. Some—David Dunbar (d. 1866) and Musgrave Lewthwaite Watson (1804–1847)—later worked as independent sculptors. Others—Francis Legé (1779–1837) and Joseph Theakston (1772–1842), a consummate carver of silks, satins, velvets, and ermines—stayed with Chantrey. Assistants were allowed to work on a freelance basis, and Chantrey passed on to them unwanted commissions. The workshop was trained to follow Chantrey's distinctive approach to carving and finishing marbles: the traditional high-polish finish was avoided; instead, to give a lively freshness to the surface of the busts, the file and rasp marks were not completely rubbed away.

Indicative of the businesslike approach Chantrey adopted towards studio management was the keeping from around 1810 of ledgers and daybooks. Allan Cunningham (1784–1842), who joined in 1814, managed the studio and acted as Chantrey's secretary. By means of his pen he attempted—not altogether convincingly—to create a distinctively ‘British genius’ image for Chantrey, claiming that he had rescued British sculpture from a foreign allegorical style and restored it to its 'natural and original character' (Cunningham, Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, 37, 1820, 3–10). Chantrey took care to ensure that public perception of him as a sculptor was positive.

As Chantrey's reputation rose, so did his prices. He charged 100 guineas for a standard-size marble bust in 1811, 120 guineas in 1814, and 150 guineas in 1820. To provide a benchmark for these rates: Nollekens's charge in 1800 had been 150 guineas. Church monuments ranged from around £100 for a modest tablet to £6000 for a large monument such as David Pike Watts. Full-length marble figures cost about £3000. Bronze equestrian figures were more expensive: Sir Thomas Munro (Madras, India) cost £8000.

Success and later career

Given the then high status of the portrait bust, his triumph at the Royal Academy in 1811 made Chantrey a sought-after portrait sculptor. Weekes neatly summed up his appeal:

The public felt … that an artist had arisen who took an original, and at the same time common sense view of portraiture: who could give the inward mental character of those who sat to him, and portray them as men of the age in which they lived;—could, in short, bring together the modern type of face and good Art, and make them both agree. They recognised the outward forms he gave of their friends, as representing faithfully the inward feelings with which they had associated them.

Weekes, 308

His sitters covered a wide spectrum: artists, writers, medical men, military heroes, scientists, and industrialists. The outstanding bust of these years, of the inventor James Watt (exh. RA, 1815; version dated 1818, Soho House Museum, Birmingham), exemplified for contemporaries his ability to capture the mind of the sitter.

The publicity of 1811 no doubt secured Chantrey three commissions, each for a fee of £1575, from the Treasury committee of taste for reliefs to fallen heroes of the Napoleonic wars for St Paul's Cathedral. In these rare attempts at narrative, Chantrey, using contemporary uniforms, re-created the events surrounding the heroic deaths. Major-General Hoghton (ordered 1812) shows the dying hero urging on his troops to victory at the battle of Albuera, watched over by Fame with a laurel wreath—an unusual use by Chantrey of allegory. The monument to Colonel Cadogan, killed at the battle of Vittoria, and its pair, that to Major-General Bowes, killed at Salamanca (ordered 1814), are more dramatic. The striking overlapping soldiers in line show the influence of the Elgin marbles, whose acquisition by the British Museum Chantrey supported.

In contrast to these monuments to manly virtue is The Robinson Children (ordered 1815, at a fee of £650; Lichfield Cathedral), the celebrated monument to childhood innocence for the infant daughters of the Revd William Robinson, whose widow commissioned it after the death of their second daughter. Mrs Robinson asked Chantrey to consider Thomas Banks's famous monument Penelope Boothby (exh. RA, 1793; Ashbourne church, Derbyshire) and described to him how the children used to lie together in sleep. As with the Johnes monument, the painter Stothard was involved in refining the design, but how far is uncertain. The model caused a sensation at the Royal Academy exhibition in 1817, outshining Canova's exhibits: 'Such was the press to see these children … that there was no getting near them … While Canova's now far-famed figures of Hebe and Terpsichore stood almost unnoticed by their side' (GM, 101). The bunch of snowdrops touchingly held by one child adds to the group's naturalism and sense of life's fragility.

The same year Chantrey received the commission for his noble monument to the philanthropist David Pike Watts (1754–1816) (Ilam, Staffordshire), which united the themes of childhood innocence and a worthy death. The freestanding group shows Watts raising himself up from his deathbed to bless his daughter, Mrs Watts Russell, and his grandchildren. 'Chantrey's monuments and monumental statues were always touching and replete with sentiment, while his statues of children went to the heart of every mother, and delighted every parent' (Jones, 21).

Chantrey also revitalized memorials to public figures, especially politicians and the judiciary. His first major commission in this field was for a seated figure, Lord President Robert Blair (ordered 1812 for a fee of £4000; Parliament House, Edinburgh), to complement the seated figure Lord President Forbes (1752) by Roubiliac, a sculptor admired by Chantrey. The relaxed, informally seated figure wearing simplified but recognizable contemporary dress became one of Chantrey's most felicitous solutions for memorials to public men. Through the good offices of Blair's son-in-law Alexander Maconochie (later Lord Meadowbank), the chairman of the commissioning committee, Chantrey received other important orders from Edinburgh, notably the seated figure Robert Dundas of Arniston (ordered 1820 for a fee of £1200, marble; Parliament House).

By the end of the decade patrons such as the third earl of Egremont and his friends were pressing Chantrey to attempt ideal figures. A friend later wrote: 'That this eminent artist should have devoted so much time to the execution of busts, may perhaps be regretted. There is a higher walk in sculpture' (Rhodes, 288). Perhaps goaded by this pressure, Chantrey made his first visit to Italy in 1819, although he had seen in Paris in 1815 the Italian masterpieces looted by Napoleon. He looked hard at antique and modern art, but as George Jones, with whom he discussed his Italian experiences, noted perceptively, 'Chantrey's journey through Italy seems to have been in furtherance of his desire to learn what to avoid rather than what to adopt' (Jones, 36). The visit probably persuaded him that poetic works were not his forte; although such commissions were accepted after his return, no figures were executed. On meeting Canova again—they had first met in London in 1815—the two hit it off, and Canova's portrait was painted by John Jackson, whom Chantrey had taken expressly for this purpose. Although Chantrey met and admired Thorvaldsen, there was far less rapport with the Danish sculptor.

The Italian experience had some influence on Chantrey's work. The increased fleshiness of his figures, notably the tenderly maternal Mrs Jordan and her Children for William IV (ordered 1831 for a fee of £2100; Royal Collection), may derive from renewed acquaintance with Canova's work, as certainly does the brilliant transformation of Canova's kneeling figure Pius VI (St Peter's, Rome) into a design for monuments for kneeling Anglican bishops. Italy may in addition have encouraged him to be more ambitious in the scale of some of his busts, to be more succulent in their carving and stylish in their design—especially in the treatment of hair. The effects of light and shade created from the folds of his drapery also became more dramatic from the 1820s, often making the busts more flamboyant in character.

From the early 1820s until his death Chantrey was the portrait sculptor of choice for wealthy, institutional, or public patrons. The deaths of Nollekens and Flaxman in 1823 and 1824, the unsuccessful careers of the talented Samuel Joseph and William Behnes, and the decision of some sculptors such as John Gibson to live in Rome left the field open to him. Although the standard of execution was almost always high, the number of commissions inevitably compromised at times the quality of invention. Outstanding from these years are the busts George IV (version 1822; priv. coll.), Queen Victoria (ordered 1838; Royal Collection)—regarded by the prince consort as the best likeness of the queen—Robert Southey, poet laureate (ordered 1828; NPG), and Sir Jeffry Wyatville (begun c.1835, exh. RA, 1837; Royal Collection).

With rare exceptions, Chantrey from the early 1820s refined his well-proven compositions for public monuments rather than developed new solutions. He frequently used a seated figure composition that gave a relaxed informality and had antique precedents. His masterpiece of this design, James Watt (ordered 1820 for a fee of £2000, exh. RA, 1824; Handsworth church, Birmingham), where the subject is shown deep in thought with sheets of paper spread over his knees, bowled Haydon over: 'It is Chantrey's Chef d'oeuvre … The statue is very free, and contains the essence of Chantrey's peculiar power' (Diary, ed. Pope, 5.105). His full-length figures are increasingly endowed with an authoritative presence and humanity; outstanding is George Canning (ordered 1829 for a fee of £3150; town hall, Liverpool), where the great orator seems about to break into speech. Weekes highlighted his figure of Henry Grattan (ordered 1822 for a fee of £2000; city hall, Dublin):

Grattan, short in its proportions as was the man himself, glows with wild Irish eloquence; every limb is agitated by the persuasive words he is uttering, even his hair is moved by his energy and carries you with him nolens volens in his argument. The statue is the Demosthenes of modern art.

Weekes, 313–14

In contrast to Chantrey's animated figures of the laity are his humbly kneeling bishops, the two most distinguished of this genre: both Revd Reginald Heber, bishop of Calcutta (ordered 1828 for a fee of £3000; St Paul's Cathedral, London), and Revd Henry Ryder, bishop of Lichfield (ordered 1837; Lichfield Cathedral), have a calm air of sanctity. In these episcopal figures Chantrey exploits to great effect the contrast between soft lawn rochet and heavy silk gown.

Chantrey's popularity as a monument maker continued unabated until his death. On occasion he used the traditional arrangement of a figure reclining on a tomb chest, as in the beautiful monument to Lady Frederica Stanhope (ordered 1823 for a fee of £1575; Chevening, Kent), who, having died in childbirth, is shown sleeping, nursing her infant child, or that to Charlotte Elizabeth Digby (ordered 1823 for a fee of £1260; Worcester Cathedral), who sits gazing heavenward.

Although he regarded English light as unsuitable for bronze figures, Chantrey benefited from the burgeoning fashion for public statues after Waterloo. The commission of his first bronze, a standing figure of George IV for Brighton (ordered 1822 for a fee of £3150), was probably due to the influence of his patron Lord Egremont. About 1827, having found that commercial foundries could not meet his exacting standards, Chantrey established a foundry alongside his studio with the capacity for casting large-scale public sculpture. William Pitt, commissioned by a group of noblemen for Hanover Square, London (ordered 1825 for a fee of £7000), is one of the first cast in his foundry. It has a presence that the bronze toga-clad William Pitt (Pembroke College, Cambridge) by Richard Westmacott lacks, but does not equal Chantrey's best standing marble figures. There were also opportunities for equestrian figures, and Chantrey, who knew the classic Italian exemplars, rather surprisingly took up the challenge. The design and modelling of the three equestrian figures he undertook, Sir Thomas Munro for Madras (ordered 1828 for a fee of £8000), George IV (ordered 1829 for a fee of £9750; Trafalgar Square, London)—intended to surmount Marble Arch, then being designed by John Nash—and The Duke of Wellington for the City of London, finished by Weekes after his death (ordered 1839 for a fee of £9000; Royal Exchange) may not equal the finest of the past but are more intelligent than most of the attempts by his British contemporaries. Wellington had a mixed reception—a commentator in the Art Union felt it was a 'grievous failure' (Art Union, 6, 1844, 221), while The Times considered it 'certainly a good statue' but criticized the costume for being 'neither quite antique, nor modern' (The Times, 20 June 1844).

Friends and patrons

Chantrey's convivial domestic life, sporting hobbies, and intellectual interests supplied him with a wide circle of friends. An avid fisherman, he had cronies in the Houghton Fishing Club. His interest in science (especially geology) brought him friends such as Sir Humphrey Davy. Among contemporary artists, Turner was a particular friend with whom he shared a passion for improving the status of British art and artists. The nationalist enthusiasm for British art, particularly for home-grown artists, during and immediately after the Napoleonic wars, made patrons sympathetic to Chantrey. He was a guest at Petworth of Lord Egremont, who in 1819/20 commissioned Satan, which was never finished, and of Thomas Coke, the agricultural improver of Holkham Hall, Norfolk, to whom he gave the exquisitely carved relief A Brace of Woodcock (priv. coll.) in 1834, commemorating his own feat of hitting the birds with one shot. Coke commissioned the relief The Signing of Magna Carta (ordered 1832 for a fee of £300; priv. coll.), in which Earl Grey of Great Reform Bill fame and whig colleagues appear as medieval barons, imparting a double meaning to the work. John, sixth duke of Bedford, a collector of antique and modern sculpture, exceptionally persuaded Chantrey to carve two Homeric reliefs celebrating family love, Hector and Andromache and Penelope with the Bow of Odysseus (ordered 1820 for a fee of £2100; priv. coll.). He also commissioned a small figure of his daughter, Lady Louisa Russell, shown holding her favourite dove (ordered 1817 for a fee of £367 10s.), as a pair to Thorvaldsen's figure Lady Georgina Russell for outside the temple designed for Canova's Three Graces at Woburn Abbey—a high compliment.

Death and the establishment of the Chantrey bequest

Chantrey's achievement was well recognized. In addition to being elected an associate of the Royal Academy in 1816 and a Royal Academician and member of the Royal Society in 1818, he was made an honorary DCL of Oxford and an honorary MA of Cambridge and became a fellow of the Royal Society and of the Society of Antiquaries. Nominated by Canova, he was elected a member of the Accademia di San Luca, Rome, in 1819. He was knighted by William IV in 1835 but declined a baronetcy, having no heirs. He died at his home in Lower Belgrave Place on 25 November 1841 and was buried on 6 December at his birthplace, Norton. He left about £150,000 and, after a number of legacies, bequeathed the residue (worth about £100,500) for life to Lady Chantrey (1787–1875) and then to the Royal Academy, which was to use the income to purchase British paintings and sculpture for the creation of a national collection of British art. The income from the bequest has funded the purchase of around 750 paintings, drawings, and sculptures, now held by the Tate. Although dogged by controversy once the Royal Academy ceased to represent the cutting edge of British art, the Chantrey bequest has purchased many outstanding works, notably John Singer Sargent's Carnation Lily, Lily Rose (bought in 1887 for £700), Sir Frederic Leighton's The Bath of Psyche (bought in 1890 for £1050), and Harry Bates's Pandora (bought in 1891 for £1000). Lady Chantrey gave the majority of the plasters from Chantrey's studio, together with casts after the antique, to Oxford University in 1842 (partially destroyed; those remaining are listed in Penny, appx 1).

Reputation: then and now

Descriptions of Chantrey as a man abound. Sir Walter Scott found him 'a right good John Bull, blunt & honest & open without any of the nonsensical affectation so common amongst artists' (Letters of Walter Scott, 9.115), and Samuel Coleridge enthused in 1819:

I am more and more delighted with Chantrey—the little of his conversation, which I enjoyed … left me no doubt of the power of his insight. Light, Manlihood, Simplicity, Wholeness—these are the entelechie of Phidian Genius—and who but must see these in Chantrey's solar face, and in all his manners.

Collected Letters, ed. Griggs, 4.911–12

Although successful and popular, Chantrey was regarded as a sculptor of limited talent by some critics and Royal Academicians who subscribed to the view, then widely held, that portraiture should rank low in the hierarchy of art. William Bell Scott, although he recognized Chantrey's greatness, was aware of these issues:

A great artist entirely without imagination, a sculptor without pretension even to poetic feeling is a phenomenon; and yet Sir Francis was a great artist, in his walk, although he was singularly deficient in the qualities that go to produce the highest embodiments of sculpture, which we take to be what is called the ideal.

Scott, British School, 63

The different national mood of the ‘hungry forties’ and a sea change in the visual arts—in particular the rise of Pre-Raphaelitism, with its obsession with realistic detail—made his busts, being so much the mirror of another age, appear irrelevant. His reputation evaporated, compounded by the consistent hostility of the influential Art Journal. The almost universal indifference of art historians and public galleries in the twentieth century towards sculpture from between the medieval and modern periods remained unchallenged until the publication of Margaret Whinney's magisterial Sculpture in Britain, 1530–1830 (1964), with its brilliant chapter championing Chantrey. An exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in 1984 (organized by Alex Potts) and other publications, most importantly by the Walpole Society of the Chantrey ledger held by the Royal Academy, have followed. However, until a biography is written setting him in the context of the boom in British art in the early nineteenth century and exploring in detail his focus on portraiture and bold reform of the conventions of bust making, it is premature to make a full assessment. Chantrey carved the defining visual images of some of the outstanding figures in British history, and his statue of James Watt, the monuments to the Robinson children and Bishop Heber, and the busts of Sir Walter Scott, James Watt, John Horne Tooke, and John Raphael Smith are among the finest and most memorable works ever sculpted in Britain.


  • M. Whinney, Sculpture in Britain, 1530 to 1830, rev. J. Physick, 2nd edn (1988)
  • J. Holland, Memorials of Sir Francis Chantrey, RA, sculptor (1851)
  • H. Weekes, Lectures on art (1880)
  • G. Jones, Sir Francis Chantrey, RA: recollections of his life, practice and opinions (1849)
  • A. Yarrington, I. D. Lieberman, A. Potts, and M. Baker, ‘An edition of the ledger of Sir Francis Chantrey RA at the Royal Academy, 1809–1841’, Walpole Society, 56 (1991–2) [whole issue]
  • N. Penny, Church monuments in romantic England (1977)
  • A. Potts, Sir Francis Chantrey, 1781–1841, sculptor of the great (1981) [exhibition catalogue, NPG, 1981]
  • N. Penny, ‘Plaster casts from the studio of Sir Francis Chantrey’, Catalogue of European sculpture in the Ashmolean Museum, 1540 to the present day, 3 vols. (1992), appx 1
  • C. Binfield, ed., Sir Francis Chantrey, sculptor to an age, 1781–1841 (1981)
  • Peeps into the past: being passages from the diary of T. A. Ward, ed. A. B. Bell (1909)
  • The diary of Benjamin Robert Haydon, ed. W. B. Pope, 5 vols. (1960–63)
  • E. Rhodes, Peak scenery, or, Excursions in Derbyshire: made chiefly for the purpose of picturesque observation (1824)
  • The letters of Sir Walter Scott, ed. H. J. C. Grierson and others, centenary edn, 12 vols. (1932–79)
  • A. Stephens, Memoirs of John Horne Tooke, 2 vols. (1813)
  • T. K. Hervey, Illustrations of modern sculpture (1834)
  • W. B. Scott, The British school of sculpture (1871)
  • Collected letters of Samuel Coleridge (1815–1819), ed. E. L. Griggs (1959)
  • A. Potts, ‘Chantrey as the national sculptor of early 19th century England’, Oxford Art Journal, 4 (Nov 1981), 17–24
  • A. Cunningham, QR, 34 (1826), 131–3
  • GM, 2nd ser., 17 (1842), 99–106
  • parish register, Norton, Derbyshire [baptism]
  • H. Armitage, Francis Chantrey, donkey boy and sculptor (1915)
  • memorial slab, Norton parish church
  • will, TNA: PRO, PROB 11/1954, sig. 793
  • C. Sicca and A. Yarrington, eds., The lustrous trade: material culture and the history of sculpture in England and Italy, c.1700–1860 (2000), 132–55
  • D. S. Maccoll, The administration of the Chantrey bequest (1904)
  • Chantrey and his bequest: a complete illustrated record of the purchases of the trustees, with a biographical note, text of the will, etc. (1904)


  • BL, ledger, Egerton MS 1911
  • Derby Local Studies Library, day book, MS 6644
  • Derby Local Studies Library, ledger, MS 3535
  • priv. coll., letters
  • RA, ledger
  • V&A NAL, letters
  • Glos. RO, corresp. relating to memorial for Granville Sharp
  • Holkham Hall, Norfolk, letters to T. W. Coke


  • F. Chantrey, self-portrait, chalk drawing, 1802, NPG
  • F. Chantrey, self-portrait with porte crayon, oils, 1808, Tate collection
  • F. Chantrey, self-portrait, pencil on paper, 1809, NPG
  • F. Chantrey, self-portrait, oils, 1810, Tate collection
  • T. Phillips, oil on wood panel, 1818, NPG [see illus.]
  • H. Raeburn, oils, 1818; London Art Market, 1991
  • F. W. Smith, plaster bust, 1824, Tate collection
  • F. W. Smith, marble bust, exh. RA 1826, RA
  • J. Jackson, oil on panel, 1830, Tate collection
  • A. Robertson, miniature, 1831, Royal Collection
  • M. A. See, oils, 1832, Royal Scot. Acad.
  • E. U. Eddis, chalk drawing, 1838, NPG
  • J. Hefferman, bronze plaque, 1872, Scot. NPG
  • F. Chantrey, self-portrait, Groves Art Gallery, Sheffield
  • G. Jones, group portrait, oils (Opening of London Bridge, 1831), Sir John Soane's Museum, London

Wealth at Death

approximately £150,000: will, TNA: PRO, PROB 11/1954, sig. 793

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