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Sir Francis Chantrey (1781 - 1841), sculptor

Sleeping child, a model for or a cast of a marble original once in the Library at Killerton in Devon

Plaster, modelled or cast

Museum number: SC32

Curatorial note

This sculpture depicts an infant asleep on a mattress upon which is a large tasselled cushion. The child is clad in a nightdress, the chest and left shoulder being bare. The head is inclined to the right and a flower clutched in the right hand. A butterfly has settled on a blossom in the crook of the right arm.

The original marble was executed for Thomas Dyke Acland (1787-1781) a politician and philanthropist and depicts his daughter Harriet who died aged one in 1818. The marble remained at the Acland family seat of Killerton, Broadclyst, Devon until it was sold in December 1943. It is now in a private collection in the USA. Chantrey’s Ledger records the order for the 'Sleeping Child' in 1818 and that the marble was completed in 1820 and cost £367.10. It was exbibited at the Royal Academy in 1820, No.1062. Felicia Hermans’s poem “The Child’s Last Sleep” is believed to have been inspired by this sculpture.

Three years previously Chantry had shown the famous “Sleeping Children” designed for a monument to the Robinson children in Litchfield Cathedral, a work which greatly increased his reputation. A third work of this type was a “Reposing Infant”, executed for Mr Boswell of Auchinleck.

In 2012 this sculpture was reinstated in its original position in the recreated Tivoli Recess as part of Phase 2 of Opening up the Soane.

Literature

J. Holland, Memorials of Sir F Chantrey, 1851, p.270
Alison Yarrington, Ilene D. Lieberman, Alex Potts and Malcolm Baker, The Volume of the Walpole Society Vol. 56, An Edition of the Ledger of Sir Francis Chantrey R.A., at the Royal Academy, 1809-1841 (1991/1992), pp. 105-06, no. 88a

Associated objects

SC32.A, stand
M44, provenance link
M931, same artist


If you have any further information about this object, please contact us: worksofart@soane.org.uk