Saturday 2 September 2023

Terracotta Venus attributed to Scheemakers.

 Terracotta Venus attributed to Peter Scheemakers.

Venus lying on a mattress, terracotta, attr. to Peter Scheemakers the Younger.

I remain to be convinced! nevertheless this is a fabulous terracotta by an (anonymous!) first rate sculptor.

I have previously visited the subject of 18th century 'English' sculptures of Venus and other naked or semi naked female figures but it is a subject worth returning to.

In 1738 Roubiliac created a Venus for Sir Andrew Fountaine.

In November 1738 The London General Post and Daily Advertiser reported that a sculptor in St Martins Lane "last week had finish'd a fine Venus for a person of quality. 

Three days later the same paper reported a "curious figure of a lady by Mr Roubillack

Height: 37cms Width: 63cms Depth: 24 cms

Art Curiale Sale: 4126.

Lot 95. 9 Nov 2021.

 Provenance: Galerie Patrice Bellanger, Paris, in 1988

 Exhibitions: 'The woman symbol in sculpture', Paris, Galerie Patrice Bellanger, October 1988, n. p. ( like Augustin Bocciardi ).

images from -

It is interesting to me that whoever catalogued this figure had decided on an English rather than a continental sculptor. If it is English then the number of candidates for its sculptor is very limited.


The Son of Peter Scheemakers the Elder ( 1652-1714 ), he was in Copenhagen alongside the sculptor Johann Adam Strurnberg for 3 years in around 1718, then joined the workshop of Denis Plumier in London around 1720 where he met Laurent Delvaux. 

When Plumier died in 1721, together with Delvaux they completed the funeral monument of the Duke of Buckingham and worked together on various commissions. 

In 1728 they sold their collection of sculptures, and models. among which is described a 'Sleeping Venus' and settled in Rome near the Spanish Steps in the Zuccari palace. During their stay of at least two years, they met  English Grand Tour collectors such as Thomas Fonnereau who wrote to Samuel Hill who he met in Rome "a very clever fellow… his name is Schielmaker ... [ He ] has copied the Hermaphrodite of Borghese about 2 ft long which he asks 120 [ cru?; francs? ] "

see - Roscoe, "Scheemakers, Peter, 1691-1781", in 'A Biographical Dictionary of Sculptors in Britain 1660-1851', New Haven and London, 2009, p.1102.


Cleopatra ca. 1723.


Dimensions: Overall: 12 x 28 x 11 1/4 inches (30.5 x 71.1 x 28.6 cm)

Inscribed at the head of figure: "P. SCHEEMAKERS. F".



Attrib. to Delvaux.

Sold Sotheby's, 24 Jan 2002

Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection.

A sleeping Venus (very fine) by Delvaux was noted in the Drawing Room at Sir Andrew Fountaines, Narford Hall, Norfolk - see - Views of the Seats of Noblemen and Gentlemen in England, John Preston Neale · 1820. This publication also notes the bust of Andrew Fountain by Roubiliac in the Hall, and on the staircase Prometheus chained to the rock by Cavalier David (Claude David) 

see -


A Marble Statue of the Reclining Diana.

attrib. to the workshop of Laurent Delvaux (1696 - 1778),

and Peter Scheemakers (1691 - 1781).

The Sotheby's London Sale, Defining Taste, Works Selected by Danny Katz.

Lot 86 -12 November 2013.

Scheemakers and Delvaux were in partnership in London from 1718 - 28 until they sold up and departed for Italy.





20.5 by 72.2 by 31.6cm.
This piece was sold at The Sotheby's London sale, Defining Taste, Works Selected by Danny Katz.
Lot 86 -12 November 2013.
Provenance, Christies London, Lot 46 14 December 1999.
Photographs Courtesy Sotheby's.

The Statuette above appears to be the same one that was offered at Sotheby's but it is mounted in a marble base.

It had previously been offered for sale by Sotheby's 9 July 2009.

A Diana was in Delvaux’s and Scheemakers’s sale, April 16 1728, lot 9. 
‘A sleeping Figure, by Mr Delvo’, Delvaux’s and Scheemakers’s Sale, 16 April 1728, lot 53; is untraced but it is suggested that the figure is Ariadne attrib. to Delvaux at the Yale Centre for British Art is this statuette.
I find it difficult to reconcile the obvious erotic nature of the Diana above with the more chaste Yale Ariadne and would suggest that they are not by the same sculptor.
Perhaps the pair to it was the Cleopatra at Delvaux’s and Scheemakers’s Sale, 16 April 1728, lot 6. 
Another Ariadne which is attributed to Delvaux is at the Huntington Library and Museum, California. below


Sir Francis Dashwood as St Francis of Assisi.

c. 1760.

After: William Hogarth

Print attrib. William Platt


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