Anecdotes of Painting in England: With Some Account of the Principal Artists - Vol. 2

By Horace Walpole | Go to book overview

Gibbons had several disciples and workmen; 1 Selden I have mentioned ; Watson assisted chiefly at Chatsworth, where the boys and many of the ornaments in the chapel were executed by him. Dievot of Brussels, and Laurens of Mechlin were principal journeymen; Vertue says they modelled and cast the statue I have mentioned in the Privy Garden, which confirms my conjecture of its being the figure intended in the agreement. If either of them modelled it, and not Gibbons himself, the true artist deserves to be known. They both retired to their own country on the revolution ; Laurens performed much both in statuary and in wood, and grew rich. Dievot lived till 1715, and died at Mechlin. 2


LEWIS PAYNE

engraved two signet seals for Charles II., to be used in Scotland by the Duke of Lauderdale. Dr. Rawlinson had the original warrant for them signed by the king ; one was to have been in steel, the other in silver. At top was the draught and magnitude, neatly drawn, and a memorandum that they were finished and delivered in Oct. 1678.


ARCHITECTURE,

though in general the taste was bad, and corrupted by imitations of the French, yet, as it produced St. Paul's, may be said to have flourished in this reign: whole countries, an age, often gets a name for one capital work. Before I come to Sir Christopher Wren, I must despatch his seniors.

____________________
1
In the auditor's account of the building of Chatsworth, no mention is any where made of Gibbons. This circumstance proves that the art of exquisitely carving in wood, was not then confined to so few hands as it has been commonly supposed.—Lysons's Derbyshire, p. 152.

Gilpin, in his notice of Chatsworth, (N. Tour, vol. ii. p. 217,) informs us that there is much exquisite carving by Gibbons. " We admired chiefly the dead fowl of various kinds, with which the chimney-piece of one of the state apartments is adorned. It is astonishing to see the downy softness of the feathers given to wood. The particulars, however, only are admirable : Gibbons was no adept at composition."

If this criticism were strictly just, what becomes of it, when it is proved that Gibbons was never employed at Chatsworth? He, in fact, introduced the fashion ; and had several very able competitors who had studied under him.—D.

2
[A carved frame by Gibbons, around a portrait of Mary Lapelle, afterwards Lady Hervey, was sold at the Strawberry-hill sale, for guineas.—W.]

-173-

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