Roubiliac, Lewis-Francis

, a very eminent sculptor, was a native of Lyons in France; but of his early history no memoirs have been discovered. He appears to have come to England, about the time that Rysbrach’s fame was at its height, and became a very formidable rival to that excellent artist, who had at the same time to contend with the growing merit of Scheemaker. Roubiliac is said, however, to have had little business until sir HJdward Walpole recommended him to execute half the busts at Trinity-college, Dublin; and, by the same patron’s interest, he was employed on the fine monument of the general John duke of Argyle, in Westminster-abbey, on which the statue of eloquence is particularly graceful and masterly; but it has been thought that his fame was most completely fixed by his statue of Handel in Vauxhallgardens. Two of his principal works are the monuments of the duke and duchess of Montague in Northamptonshire, well performed and magnificent, although perhapg wanting in simplicity. His statue of George J. in the Senate-bouse at Cambridge, is well executed; as is that of their chancellor, Charles duke of Somerset, except that it is in a Vandyke-dress, which might not be the fault of the sculptor. His statue of sir Isaac Newton, in the chapei of Trinity-college, has always been greatly admired; but lord Orford objects, that the air is a little too pert for so grave a man. This able artist died Jan. 11, 1762, and was buried in the parish of St. Martin’s in the Fields, where he had lived.

Mr. Scott of Crown-street, Westminster, had a sketch of Roubiliac’s head, in oil, by himself, which he painted ft little before his death. The late Edward Bridgen, esq. had an excellent model of a monument for general Wolfe, by Roubiliac, which was his last work, and was intended to have been executed in marble for Westminster-abbey. The design is said to have been far preferable to that now in the abbey. Lord Chesterfield used to assert, that Roubiliac only was a statuary, and all the rest were stone-cutters. Roubiliac had a turn for poetry, and wrote some satires in French verse. 2


Walpole’s Anecdotes.—Gent. Mag. vol LIII. and LVIII.