(b Lyons, 31 Aug. 1702; d London, 11 Jan. 1762). French-born sculptor, active in England for virtually his entire career. Little is known of his life before he settled in London in 1730, although he is said to have trained under Balthasar Permoser in Dresden and Nicolas Coustou in Paris. He made his reputation with a full-length seated marble statue of the composer Handel (1738, V&A, London), remarkable for its lively informality, and soon became recognized as the most brilliant portrait sculptor of the day. His busts have great vivacity, stressing small forms and rippling movement in a manner very different from the broader treatment of his contemporary Michael Rysbrack. He was especially successful with portraits of old and ugly men, and in his series of busts at Trinity College, Cambridge, and the celebrated statue of Newton (1754–5) there, he showed an unusual gift for producing lively portraits of men long dead.

Text source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)

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