SIR HENRY CHEERE (LONDON 1703-1781 LONDON)
SIR HENRY CHEERE (LONDON 1703-1781 LONDON)
SIR HENRY CHEERE (LONDON 1703-1781 LONDON)
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SIR HENRY CHEERE (LONDON 1703-1781 LONDON)
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PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN
SIR HENRY CHEERE (LONDON 1703-1781 LONDON)

Venus and Vulcan

Details
SIR HENRY CHEERE (LONDON 1703-1781 LONDON)
Venus and Vulcan
marble figures; each signed 'Cheere Fec.' to the base
21 5/8 in. (55 cm.) and 20 ½ in. (52 cm.) high
Provenance
Almost certainly the marbles offered in the collection of Sir Robert Ainslie, bart.; Christie's London, 10 March 1809 (but seemingly offered on behalf of a different vendor, 'Hope'), lots 97 and 98, unsold.
Papworth House, Cambridgeshire until sold,
Anonymous Sale; Cheffins Cambridge; 12 February 2004, lot 474 (£450,000 hammer),
where acquired by the present owner.
Literature
R. Gunnis, Dictionary of British Sculptors 1660-1851, 1965, p. 98 [probably].

COMPARATIVE LITERATURE
M. Whinney, Sculpture in Britain 1530-1830, London, 1992, pp. 191-197.
T. Friedman and T. Clifford, The Man at Hyde Park Corner - Sculpture by John Cheere (1709-1787), Leeds, 1974, pp. 3-10.
M. Snodin ed, Rococo: Art and design in Hogarth's England, exhibition catalogue, London, Victoria and Albert Museum, 1984, pp. 278-309.
T. Clifford, ‘The Plaster Shops of the Rococo and Neo-Classical era in Britain’, Journal of the History of Collections, IV, January 1992, pp. 41 and 50.
Exhibited
Victoria and Albert Museum, London, on loan, 2005-2007.

Brought to you by

Maja Markovic
Maja Markovic Specialist, Head of Evening Sale

Lot Essay

Sir Henry Cheere was born in Clapham in 1703 and belonged to a family of sculptors working for the domestic market in a variety of media. He, along with his younger brother John, enjoyed considerable success and celebrity becoming leading figures in the artistic milieu of 18th century Britain. His initial training was with the mason Robert Hartshorne for whom he became an assistant in 1718. However, by the age of 23 Cheere had his own premises near Saint Margaret’s Church, Westminster employing several assistants. In his early years he collaborated frequently with the Flemish sculptor Henry Scheemakers who held an adjacent workspace in Saint Margaret’s lane between 1729 and 1733. The two sculptors signed several monuments together the most important of which is the tomb of the 1st Duke of Ancaster in Edenham, Linconshire (1728).

Cheere’s skill and renown won him important patrons and elevated his social standing as his career progressed. He completed commissions for Oxford University and for Westminster Abbey where his funerary monuments for Sir Thomas Hardy (1737) and Captain Philip de Saumarez (1747) remain in situ. Aside from large-scale statuary, Cheere received a great number of commissions for decorative works, especially chimneypieces, to furnish the homes of the British aristocracy. Contemporary admiration for Cheere’s oeuvre is demonstrated by the fact that, in 1760, he was the first English sculptor to receive a knighthood and six years later was also given a baronetcy.

Among Cheere’s documented works, the present pair are an unusual survival. Their scale and mythological subject matter would suggest that they were intended to adorn a fashionable domestic interior rather than for an ecclesiastical or institutional patron.

PAPWORTH HALL
Frances Cheere, the granddaughter of Sir Henry, married the MP Charles Madryll in 1799 and her husband later took her surname by royal licence when the couple stood to inherit the family fortune in 1808. The following year Madryll Cheere commissioned the architect George Byfield to build Papworth Hall in Cambridgeshire which the family inhabited until the late 19th century. It is very probable that the present pair of marbles are the same two figures offered as lots 97 and 98 at Christie's on 10th March 1809 described as 'A beautiful small sitting Figure of Vulcan, in Statuary by Sir H. Cheere' and 'A small sitting Figure of Venus, the Companion, very fine'. They were offered at the end of the sale of the collection of Sir Robert Ainslie among a group of marbles from various owners. The name of the consignor for lots 97 and 98 is recorded as 'Hope'. Although unsold in 1809, it would appear that at some point the present marbles were re-acquired for Papworth Hall, undoubtedly due to the family connection.

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