27 NOVEMBER 1841, Page 17



WriwrN a short time British art has lost two of its chief ornaments 1 but lately we had to record the loss of WILKIE, and now we have the painful duty of announcing the death of Sir FRANCIS CHANTREY, the first English sculptor of the day, and in portraiture unrivalled through- out Europe. This event occurred very suddenly, at the residence of Sir FRANCIS in Eccleston Street, on Thursday evening between eight and nine o'clock. Sir FRANCIS had only returned from a visit to the Earl of Lziersima at llolkham the day before ; and on the morning of Thursday he was in his usual good health and spirits, inspecting the progress of the various works in his studio, and conversing cheerfully with his assistants. At seven he dined moderately, as usual, with a small circle of friends: feeling unwell, he was attended by a medical man in the neighbourhood ; who on seeing him, desired that his phy- sician should be immediately called in ; but before the arrival of Dr. BRIGHT, Sir Framers had breathed his last. Though healthy, Sir Flusters was constitutionally of a full habit, and was frequently obliged.

to lose blood by cupping ; and an apoplectic attack was probably the immediate cause of his death, though it has been called a disease of the heart.

Sir Pas/qua CHANTREY had finished the model of the head of the Duke of WELLINGTON for the colossal equestrian statue for the City of

London, having had a last sitting from the Duke just before he went to Ilolkham ; and he had recently given the finishing-touches to an ad- mirable bust of Lord MELBounNE. These were the last models he put his hand to ; and we are informed by one whose judgment is entitled to respect, that they both rank among his finest works.

The career of CHANTREY was active and prosperous; and he owed his success entirely to his own great talents. He originally worked in the shop of a carver and gilder ; where his genius shone forth ; and before he applied himself to sculpture, he painted a few portraits, one of which we have seen : though possessing little beauty of colour, it has the merit of true expression, and is remarkable as a likeness. The great value of CHANTREY'S statues consists in the intellectual character of the heads : the mind of the original predominated in his likenesses ; which circumstance contributed more than the improving touch of art to elevate and refine the lineaments. The faces of his figures thought; the eyes were eloquent of meaning, and the mouth expressed the tran- sient emotion of the happy moment when be seised the living resem- blance. His style of modelling was masterly, elegant, and bold withal : the outline and play of the features in his busts are brought out by means of the light and shade produced by the forms in marble ; in effect, he painted with his chisel. No sculptor of any age, perhaps, has executed a greater number of busts and statues, or produced finer likenesses of the countenance. His figures, on the contrary, are conventional, not cha- racteristic. Invention was not his forte : his only ideal work was the exquisite group of two sleeping children, in Lichfield Cathedral ; and for this STOTHARD furnished the design. The colossal statue of Warr in Westminster Abbey is one of his grandest works. He drew with taste ; as his sketches of Dove Dale, which were engraved, testify.

Sir FRANCIS CHANTREY was born in 1782, and consequently had passed his fifty-ninth year : he was married, and has left 'a widow, but no children. He was a man of shrewdness and penetration, and re- markable for bonhommie : he was not only an agreeable companion, but a steady friend, and a kind master. Mr. ALLAN CUNNINGHAM, who originally filled the humble office of rough-hewer of marble, and up to the present time was occupied with the business of the studio—his nu- merous literary effusions being the produce of his leisure hours solely—has been with Sir FRANCIS twenty-eight years ; and Mr. HEF- FERNAN, who has cut in marble almost every one of CHANTREY'S busts, literally from the first to the last, has been engaged during thirty years.