Thomas Banks Information (Person)

From Wikipedia

Thomas Banks
Portrait of Thomas Banks R.A (4671514).jpg
Engraved portrait of Banks by William Daniell (1809)
Born29 December 1735
London, England
Died2 February 1805(1805-02-02) (aged 69)
London, England
Known forSculpture

Thomas Banks RA (29 December 1735 – 2 February 1805) was an important 18th-century English sculptor.


Alcyone and Ceyx marble bas relief, originally at Parlington Hall, Aberford; removed to Lotherton Hall sometime after 1905.

The son of William Banks, a surveyor who was land steward to the Duke of Beaufort, he was born in London. He was educated at Ross-on-Wye. Banks was taught drawing by his father, and from 1750 to 1756 was apprenticed to a woodcarver, William Barlow, in London. In his spare time he worked at sculpture, spending his evenings in the studio of the Flemish émigré sculptor Peter Scheemakers. During this period he is known to have worked for the architect William Kent. Before 1772, when he obtained a travelling studentship given by the Royal Academy and proceeded to Rome, he had already exhibited several fine works. [1]

Returning to England in 1779 Banks found that the taste for classical poetry, long the source of his inspiration, no longer existed, and he spent two years in Saint Petersburg, being employed by Catherine the Great, who purchased his Cupid Tormenting a Butterfly. On his return to England he modelled his colossal Achilles Mourning the Loss of Briseis, a work full of force and passion. He was elected, in 1784, an associate of the Royal Academy and in the following year became a full member. [1]

Banks died in London on 2 February 1805. [1] He is buried in the churchyard of St Mary on Paddington Green Church.

A monument to his memory was also erected in Westminster Abbey. [2]


Among other works in St Paul's Cathedral by Banks are the monuments to Captain George Blagden Westcott and Captain Richard Rundle Burges, and in Westminster Abbey to Sir Eyre Coote, General Loten, Sir Clifton Wintringham and William Woollett. His bronze bust of Warren Hastings is in the National Portrait Gallery. [3]

Engraving by Benjamin Smith of Banks's sculpture Shakespeare attended by Painting and Poetry at the entrance to the Boydell Shakespeare Gallery. The sculpture in now in the former garden of Shakespeare's home New Place in Stratford.

Banks's best-known work is perhaps the colossal group of Shakespeare Attended by Painting and Poetry, [4] which since 1871 has been placed in the garden of New Place, Stratford-upon-Avon. [5] The high-relief sculpture was commissioned in 1788 to be placed in a recess in the upper façade of John Boydell's new Shakespeare Gallery in Pall Mall.[ citation needed] Banks was paid 500 guineas for the group which depicts Shakespeare, reclining against a rock, between the Dramatic Muse and the Genius of Painting. [6] Beneath it was panelled pedestal inscribed "He was a Man, take him for all in all, I shall not look upon his like again". [7] The sculpture remained in Pall Mall until the building was demolished in 1868 or 1869, when it was moved to New Place. [8]

One of his most bizarre works is the Anatomical Crucifixion (1801) in the Hunterian Museum in London. This shows a dissected body nailed to a cross.


Eyre Coote Memorial at Westminster Abbey by Thomas Banks

See Gunnis. [9]


  1. ^ a b c Anonymous 1911.
  2. ^ Dictionary of British Sculptors, 1660–1851, Rupert Gunnis
  3. ^ Dictionary of British Sculptors, 1660–1851, Peter Gunnis
  4. ^ Annals of Thomas Banks, Sculptor, Royal Academician By Thomas Banks, 1938, p. 74.
  5. ^ Historic England. "Shakespeare Monument on east side of the Great Gardens of New Place, Stratford-upon-Avon (1298541)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 8 July 2017.
  6. ^ Sheppard 1960, pp. 325–338 cites Signature, new series, 1949, No. 8, pp. 3–22.
  7. ^ Sheppard 1960, pp. 325–338 states "Illustrations of the exterior of the gallery are in B.M., Crace Views, portfolio XI, sheet 20, No. 47; Soane Museum, Soane drawings, drawer 18, set 7, No. 14; C. F. Bell, Annals of Thomas Banks, 1938, Plate XIV".
  8. ^ Sheppard 1960, pp. 325–338.
  9. ^ Dictionary of British Sculptors, 1660–1851, Rupert Gunnis

Works cited


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