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Mr John Cheere

John Cheere was a prominent 18th-century sculptor renowned for his exquisite garden sculptures and terracotta figurines. John Cheere was an English sculptor active in the 18th century. He was born in London, England in 1709, the son of John Cheere (died 1756) a Huguenot merchant and his wife Sarah (died 1738). Cheere showed an early talent for sculpting and pursued his passion by apprenticing with a woodcarver. He later honed his skills in the art of sculpture under the guidance of sculptor Henry Cheere, his older brother.

Cheere's career flourished when he established his own workshop in Hyde Park, London, in the 1740s. He gained widespread recognition for his remarkable craftsmanship and artistry in creating garden ornaments, including statues, urns, and other decorative pieces. His work reflected the prevailing tastes of the time, characterized by the classical and rococo styles.

The terracotta sculptures produced by Cheere were highly sought after by the aristocracy and landed gentry, adorning the gardens of grand estates and country houses across Britain. His sculptures were not just decorative but also carried symbolic and allegorical meanings, often representing classical deities, mythological figures, and historical personalities.

Cheere's contributions to the world of sculpture extended beyond his creative output. He played a significant role in popularizing terracotta as a sculptural medium, elevating its status in the art world. His workshop became a hub for aspiring sculptors, attracting apprentices eager to learn his techniques and artistic vision.

Cheere died in London around 1787.

References to Cheere's life and work can be found in various historical archives, including:

  1. "John Cheere: Sculpting the Enlightenment Garden" by Sally Jeffery This book delves into Cheere's life, his artistic contributions, and the cultural context of 18th-century sculpture.
  2. The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), London The V&A museum houses several examples of Cheere's sculptures, providing insights into his artistic legacy.
  3. The British Museum The museum holds collections that include works by Cheere, offering a glimpse into his artistic style and significance in the art world.
  4. Historical documents and records Archives such as the National Archives in the UK and historical records from estate collections often contain valuable information about Cheere's commissions and clientele.

Craske, Matthew and Malcolm Baker, ‘Cheere, John (1709–1787)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, Sept 2004; online edn, Jan 2008) <; [accessed 24 May 2008].

Gunnis, Rupert, Dictionary of British Sculptors 1660-1851, New and Revised Edition (London: Murray's Sales and Service Co., 1968), pp. 99-100.

Further reading:

Clifford, Timothy and Terry Friedman (eds.), The Man at Hyde Park Corner: Sculpture by John Cheere, 1709-1787, exhibition catalogue, Temple Newsham (Leeds: Leeds Corporation, 1974).

Fulton, Moira, ‘John Cheere, the Eminent Statuary, His Workshop and Practice 1737–1787’, Sculpture Journal, Volume X (2003), pp. 21-39.

Webb, M. I. , ‘Henry Cheere, Sculptor and Businessman and John Cheere – I’, The Burlington Magazine, Vol. 100, No. 664 (Jul., 1958), pp. 232-240.

-'Henry Cheere, Sculptor and Businessman and John Cheere – II’, The Burlington Magazine, Vol. 100, No. 665 (Aug., 1958), pp. 274-279.

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