Concept

Louis-François Roubiliac

Summary
Louis-François Roubiliac (or Roubilliac, or Roubillac) (31 August 1702 – 11 January 1762) was a French sculptor who worked in England. One of the four most prominent sculptors in London working in the rococo style, he was described by Margaret Whinney as "probably the most accomplished sculptor ever to work in England". Roubiliac was born in Lyon. According to J. T. Smith he was trained in the studio of Balthasar Permoser in Dresden, where Permoser, a product of Bernini's workshop, was working for the Protestant Elector of Saxony, and later in Paris, in the studio of his fellow-townsman Nicolas Coustou. Disappointed in receiving second place in the competition for the Prix de Rome, 1730, he received his medal but not the chance to study in Rome; he moved to London instead. In 1735 he married Caroline Magdalene Hélot, a member of the French Huguenot community in London, at St Martin-in-the-Fields. In London, he was employed by "Carter, the statuary" but was introduced by Edward Walpole, son of the Prime Minister, to Henry Cheere, who took him on as an assistant. Sir Edward's intervention resulted in the commission for half the busts in the series for Trinity College, Dublin, and for the Duke of Argyll monument commission, if Horace Walpole is correct in his Anecdotes of Painting in England. In 1738 he had a great success with a seated figure of Handel, commissioned by Jonathan Tyers, owner of the Vauxhall Gardens. The statue blends realism and allegory: Handel is shown in modern dress, but plays an Ancient Greek lyre, and has a putto sitting at his feet. It is now in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum. Roubiliac was recommended for this commission by Cheere. Its prominent placement in the fashionable pleasure grounds "fixed Roubiliac's fame" as Walpole put it, and he was able to open the studio in St Martin's Lane that he maintained until his death. Roubiliac was a founding member of the St Martin's Lane Academy, a professional association and fraternity of rococo artists that was a forerunner to the Royal Academy.
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