'The Chatterton of sculpture': Thomas Procter and the martyrology of the British School - Tate Research Repository
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'The Chatterton of sculpture': Thomas Procter and the martyrology of the British School

2017

Abstract

The name of the sculptor and painter Thomas Procter does not feature prominently in modern accounts of British art at the end of the eighteenth century. The substantial modern biographical account of Procter appears in Thomas Brayshaw's antiquarian history of the parish of Giggleswick in Yorkshire, where the artist was born and raised. Brayshaw was able to draw on the family's memories as well as documentary sources and access to the few paintings and miniatures by Procter that had passed down in the family. During Procter's lifetime, his three exhibited works in sculpture, shown at the Royal Academy in 1785, 1786 and 1792, were received rapturously. Procter's reputation endured through mid-century, both at home and abroad. A separate, romanticised account of Procter's tragic life declaring him as 'the Chatterton of sculpture', tragically short-lived poet who served as the archetype of creative genius, was published in the literary annual The Winter's Wreath in 1828, and was republished in Britain and America.

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