, an eminent English sculptor, descended of an ancient family in
, an eminent English sculptor, descended of an ancient family in Somersetshire, was the son of Thomas Bacon, a cloth-worker in South wark, and born Nov. 24, 1740. At the age of fourteen, he was bound apprentice to Mr. Crispe of Bow church-yard, where he was employed in painting on porcelain, and forming the models of shepherds, shepherdesses, and other ornamental pieces for his master’s china manufactory at Lambeth, and such was his skill and industry in this humble employment, that he was at this early age enabled to gratify his filial piety, by supporting his parents from the produce of his labours, although at the expence of 'those enjoyments which children of less affection and thought cannot easily resign. While employed at this manufactory, he had an opportunity of seeing the models of different sculptors which were sent there to be burnt, and from them he improved his own skill in so high a degree, that at no distant period he became a candidate for public premiums, and it appears from the books published annually by the Society for the encouragement of the arts, that, between the years 1763 and 1766 inclusive, the first premiums in those classes, for which he contended, were no less than nine times adjudged to him. The first of these attempts was made in the year 1758, in a small figure of Peace, after the manner of the antique. During his apprenticeship also, he formed a design of making statues in artificial stone, which he afterwards so perfected as to recover the manufactory at Lambeth, now carried on by Mrs. Coade, and which before Mr. Bacon undertook the management of it, had fallen into very low circumstances.
, an eminent English sculptor, born in 1735, was the son of Mr. William
, an eminent English sculptor, born in 1735, was the son of Mr. William Banks, land-steward to the then duke of Beaufort, a situation which he occupied with honour and credit to himself, and from which he derived very handsome emolument. His eldest son Thomas, evincing a strong partiality for the arts, was placed with Mr. Kent, whose name is well known in the architectural annals of that period but, shewing afterwards a preference for sculpture, he studied that art with greater success in the royal academy, then lately instituted, and obtained the geld medal and other prizes for his productions he was also elected to be sent for three years to pursue his studies on the continent, at the expence of that establishment which was one of its regulations previous to the French revolution, when the disturbances in Italy rendered it difficult, if not impossible, for Englishmen to travel in that country. The residence of Mr. Banks was prolonged beyond the limits allowed by the academy for his enthusiastic admiration of the antique, which could then be seen only in perfection in that now despoiled country, and his eager endeavours to imitate the simplicity and elegance of its best specimens, made him unwilling to quit a spot where he could contemplate its beauties with unremitting delight. He met with some patronage from his countrymen who visited Rome and among others of his productions which were sent to this country, was a basso-relievo in marble, representing Caractacus with his family broughtprisoners before Claudius which now ornaments the entrance-hall at Stowe, the seat of the marquis of Buckingham a beautiful little figure of Pysche stealing the golden fleece, in marble also, which was intended as a portrait of the princess Sophia of Gloucester, and is still in her family and an exquisite figure of Cupid catching a butterfly, an emblem of loye tormenting the soul, the size of life, which perhaps for grace, symmetry of form, and accuracy of contour, has scarcely been equalled by a modern hand, and might almost vie with those productions of the ancients, to which his admiration, as well as emulation, had been so constantly directed.