Thomas Banks

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For other people named Thomas Banks, see Thomas Banks (disambiguation).
Engraving by Benjamin Smith of Banks' sculpture Shakespeare attended by Painting and Poetry at the entrance to the Boydell Shakespeare Gallery. The sculpture in now in the former garden of Shakespeare's home New Place in Stratford.
Alcyone and Ceyx marble bas relief, originally at Parlington Hall, Aberford, removed to Lotherton Hall sometime after 1905.
Eyre Coote Memorial at Westminster Abbey by Thomas Banks

Thomas Banks (December 29, 1735 – February 2, 1805) was an important 18th century English sculptor.

Life[edit]

The son of William Banks, a surveyor who was land steward to the Duke of Beaufort, he was born in London. He was educated at Ross-on-Wye.

He was taught drawing by his father, and from 1750 to 1756 was apprenticed to a woodcarver, William Barlow, in London. In his spare time he worked at sculpture, spending his evenings in the studio of the Flemish émigré sculptor Peter Scheemakers. During this period he is known to have worked for the architect William Kent. Before 1772, when he obtained a travelling studentship given by the Royal Academy and proceeded to Rome, he had already exhibited several fine works.[1]

Returning to England in 1779 he found that the taste for classic poetry, ever the source of his inspiration, no longer existed, and he spent two years in Saint Petersburg, being employed by the empress Catherine the Great, who purchased his Cupid Tormenting a Butterfly. On his return he modelled his colossal 'Achilles Mourning the Loss of Briseis, a work full of force and passion; and then he was elected, in 1784, an associate of the Royal Academy and in the following year a full member.[1]

Banks died in London on 2 February 1805.[1] He is buried in Paddington Churchyard.

A monument to his memory was also erected in Westminster Abbey.[2]

Works[edit]

Among other works in St Paul's Cathedral are the monuments to Captain George Blagden Westcott and Captain Richard Burgess, and in Westminster Abbey to Sir Eyre Coote, General Loten, Sir Clifton Wintringham and William Woollett. His bronze bust of Warren Hastings is in the National Portrait Gallery.[3]

Banks's best-known work is perhaps the colossal group of Shakespeare Attended by Painting and Poetry,[citation needed] now in the garden of New Place, Stratford-on-Avon.[citation needed] The high-relief sculpture was commissioned in 1788 to be placed in a recess in the upper façade of John Boydell's Shakespeare Gallery in Pall Mall.[citation needed] Banks was paid 500 guineas for the group which depicts Shakespeare, reclining against a rock, between the Dramatic Muse and the Genius of Painting.[4] Beneath it was panelled pedestal inscribed "He was a Man, take him for all in all, I shall not look upon his like again".[5] The sculpture remained in Pall Mall until the building was demolished in 1868 or 1869, when it was moved to New Place.[6]

One of his most bizarre works is "Anatomical Crucifixion" (1801) held in the Hunterian (Anatomical) Museum in London. This shows a dissected body nailed to a cross.

Memorials[edit]

see[7]

Memorial to Bishop Law in Carlisle Cathedral by Thomas Banks

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Anonymous 1911.
  2. ^ Dictionary of British Sculptors, 1660-1851, Rupert Gunnis
  3. ^ Dictionary of British Sculptors, 1660-1851, Peter Gunnis
  4. ^ Sheppard 1960, pp. 325–338 cites Signature, new series, 1949, No. 8, pp. 3–22.
  5. ^ Sheppard 1960, pp. 325–338 states "Illustrations of the exterior of the gallery are in B.M., Crace Views, portfolio XI, sheet 20, No. 47; Soane Museum, Soane drawings, drawer 18, set 7, No. 14; C. F. Bell, Annals of Thomas Banks, 1938, Plate XIV".
  6. ^ Sheppard 1960, pp. 325–338.
  7. ^ Dictionary of British Sculptors, 1660-1851, Rupert Gunnis

References[edit]

Attribution