Francis Chantrey was born in Norton, near Sheffield. His father was a carpenter who owned a small farm. Initially apprenticed to a carver and gilder called Ramsey, Chantrey was later taught drawing by John Raphael Smith. He began his career painting portraits, but turned to wood-carving, before trying clay modelling. In 1809, he exhibited a bust of ‘Satan’ at the Royal Academy, which led to commissions for further busts. He travelled to Paris in 1814 and Rome in 1819, where he visited the studios of Canova and Thorvaldsen. He became a member of the Royal Academy in 1818. In 1835 he was knighted. By the end of his life Chantrey had built up a huge fortune, most of which he left to the Royal Academy for purchasing work by British artists.
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