Joseph Nollekens  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Joseph Nollekens (11 August 173723 April 1823) was a sculptor from London generally considered to be the finest British sculptor of the late 18th century. He was also a founder member of the Royal Academy in 1768.

He studied first under Peter Scheemakers before studying and working as an antiques dealer, restorer and copier in Rome from 1759 to 1770. Returning to England he became one of the most fashionable portrait sculptors in the country.

Nollekens enjoyed the patronage of George III and went on to sculpt a number of British political figures, including George III himself, William Pitt the Younger, Charles James Fox, the Duke of Bedford and Charles Watson-Wentworth. He also made busts of a number of figures from the arts such as Laurence Sterne and Benjamin West. Additionally, he made a large number of church monuments.

Nollekens died in London, having made a fortune from his work. A notorious miser, he left around £200,000 in his will.

A biography on Nollekens was published in 1828, Nollekens and his times, by John Thomas Smith.

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