John Bacon (sculptor)
John Bacon (November 24, 1740 – August 4, 1799) was a British sculptor who worked in the late 18th century.
Born in Southwark, he was the son of a cloth worker from Somerset. At the age of fourteen he was apprenticed to a manufacturer of porcelain at Lambeth, where he was at first employed in painting the small ornamental pieces of china, but was promoted to modeller. His observation of the models executed by different sculptors of eminence, which were sent to be fired at an adjoining pottery, determined the direction of his genius; he imitated them with so much success that in 1758 a small figure of Peace sent by him to the Society for the Encouragement of Arts received a prize, and the highest premiums given by that society were adjudged to him nine times between the years 1763 and 1776.
During his apprenticeship he also improved the method of working statues in artificial stone, by 1769 working for the Coade Artificial Stone Manufactory, an art which he afterwards carried to perfection.
Bacon first attempted working in marble in about 1763, and during the course of his early efforts in this art was led to improve the method of transferring the form of the model to the marble (technically "getting out the points") by the invention of a more perfect instrument for the purpose. This instrument possessed many advantages; it was more exact, took a correct measurement in every direction, was contained in a small compass, and could be used on either the model or the marble. In 1769 he was awarded the first gold medal for sculpture given by the Royal Academy, for a bas-relief representing the escape of Aeneas from Troy. In 1770 he exhibited a figure of Mars, which gained him the gold medal of the Society of Arts and his election as A.R.A.
As a consequence of this success he was engaged to execute a bust of King George III, intended for Christ Church, Oxford. He retained the king's favour throughout life, though he was commonly criticised for ignorance of classic style. This charge he refuted with a noble head of Jupiter Tonans, and many of his emblematical figures are in perfect classical taste.
His various sculptures, which may be studied in St Paul's Cathedral in London, Christ Church and Pembroke College, Oxford, Bath Abbey and Bristol Cathedral, give ample testimony to Bacon's powers. Some of his best works are to be found among the monuments in Westminster Abbey.
After Bacon's death, his practice was continued by his son John Bacon, Jnr.
- Bust of George III in Christ Church, Oxford (1770)
- Bust of John Guise in Christ Church, Oxford (1770)
- Monument to the George Montagu-Dunk, 2nd Earl of Halifax in Westminster Abbey (1771)
- Monument to Thomas Gray in Westminster Abbey (1771)
- Bust of George III for Windsor Castle (1775)
- Figurative sculpture for the front of Guy's Hospital (1776)
- Chimneypiece for the Duke of Richmond at Goodwood House (1777)
- Figurative sculpture for Somerset House (1778)
- Monument to 1st Earl of Chatham in Westminster Abbey (1778)
- Bust of Samuel Foote exhibited at Royal Academy (1778)
- Monument to Thomas Guy in Guy's Hospital Chapel (1779)
- Monument to Jacob Harris in Salisbury Cathedral (1780)
- Bust of Sir Francis Dashwood for his mausoleum at West Wycombe, Buckinghamshire (1780)
- Bust of Inigo Jones for the Carpenters Hall, London (1780)
- Monument to Charles Roe in Christ Church, Macclesfield (1781)
- Monument to Lord Tracton in Cork, Ireland (1781)
- Statue of the 1st Earl of Chatham for the Guildhall, London (1782)
- Statue of Henry VI for Eton College sited in the Upper Chapel (1786)
- Memorial to Admiral Samuel Graves in Dunkeswell, Devon (1787)
- Monument to Sir Waldon Hanmar at Simpson, Buckinghamshire (1789)
- Ornate chimney-piece at Fonthill Abbey (1790)
- Ornate chimney-piece for Warren Hastings at Daylesford House (1793)
- Monument to John Milton in St. Giles Cripplegate, London (1793)
- Bust of the Duke of Portland[clarification needed] for the mausoleum at Wentworth Woodhouse (1793)
- Bust of John Howard for Shrewsbury Prison (1793)
- Bust of John Thomas, Bishop of Rochester in Westminster Abbey (1793)
- Statue of Atlas on the Radcliffe Observatory, Oxford (by 1795)
- Statue of John Howard in St Paul's Cathedral (1795)
- Monument to Sir George Pocock in Westmister Abbey (1796)
- Statue of Dr Samuel Johnson in St Paul's Cathedral (1796)
- Pediment for the offices of the East India Company (1797–99)
- Statue of Sir William Jones in St Paul's Cathedral (1799)
- Statue of William III in St. James Square, London (1799)
- Monument to Samuel Whitbread at Cardington, Bedfordshire (1799)
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Bacon, John". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. which in turn cites:
- Cecil, Richard (1801). Memoirs of John Bacon, R.A. London.
- Pratt, J, ed. (1811). R. Cecil's works I.
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