Saturday 29 June 2024

Laurent Delvaux


Laurent Delvaux (1696 - 1778).

Posted here as an aide memoire. I have been researching another life size marble group of Vertumnus and Pomona in a private collection with as yet no success.


Laurent Delvaux.

By Georges Willame.

Pub. 1914

Delvaux probably trained in his native Ghent under the local sculptor J. B. van Helderberghe. At the age of 18 he went to Brussels to study under Pierre-Denis Plumier from Antwerp and attended the local drawing academy.


He went to London in 1717 where he collaborated with his compatriot Peter Scheemakers. When they were joined by Plumier in 1721 they worked together on a number of marble funerary monuments, including that of John Sheffield, duke of Buckingham (1721–22, London, Westminster Abbey. 

After Plumier died soon after his arrival in 1721, Delvaux and Scheemakers are believed to have collaborated with Francis Bird on the marble monument to John Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle, also in Westminster Abbey. Scheemakers and Delvaux entered into a formal partnership and set up a workshop in Millbank, Westminster, in 1723.. The partners sold their stock in the partnership and travelled to Rome in 1728.


Vertumnus and Pamona.

Victoria and Albert Museum.

Height 129.5cm.  Base length: 80cm, width: 63.5cm.

The Museum website states -

Formerly at Canons, near Edgware, Middlesex, the seat of James Brydges, Duke of Chandos (1673-1744). Whinney suggested that the present piece together with the Venus and Adonis group executed by Peter Scheemakers, was almost certainly commissioned by the Duke of Chandos specifically for Canons: Scheemakers and Delvaux were at this point working in partnership. 

However in 1747, the drain of hereditary tax on an already spent fortune resulted in the demolition of Canons, and the sale of its contents. The two groups were probably bought by Lord Cobham for Stow House, Buckinghamshire at the Canons sale. 

They are first recorded at Stowe in 1773. Both were also recorded to have been in the Dining Room, but later removed to the garden. 

The two groups were clearly viewed as a pair, displayed together whilst at Stowe House, and appearing as consecutive lots in the sales. 

The present group was offered as lot 782 on 21 August 1848, when it was described as being in the South Portico, noted in Forster's catalogue as sold to 'A. Robertson, Esq.' for 86 2s 0d (82 guineas). In the 1921 Stowe sale held by Messrs Jackson Stops, it was again in the South Portico, along with Scheemaker's 'Venus and Adonis'. 

In the third and last Stowe sale catalogue of 1922 the present group is listed, though the 'Venus and Adonis' is not. However, the accompanying illustration in the catalogue is of the Venus and Adonis, suggesting that the present piece had already been sold at the 1921 sale, and its inclusion in the catalogue an error. 

The location of Vertumnus and Pomona is not recorded from 1921 until 1948, when it was acquired by Dr W.L. Hildburgh F.S.A. from Bert Crowther, Isleworth, Middlesex, towards the end of 1948. It was given by Dr Hildburgh to the Museum as customary New Year gift in 1949.


On 26 March 1889, the Duke of Buckingham and Chandos passed away at his London residence. Having three daughters meant the title died with him and has never been revived.


The estate was burdensome on the family finances and his eldest daughter Lady Kinloss chose to rent Stowe out to the Comte de Paris, the French pretender to the throne (many of his exiled family lived in Buckinghamshire), whilst she and her family lived in Biddleston Park.


After the Comtedied in 1894, Lady Kinloss placed an advert in the first issue of Country Life magazine in an attempt to sell Stowe. However, it would not be until 1921 that it was finally sold. Lady Kinloss and her family lived locally at Maids Moreton in order to reduce living costs but returned to Stowe for a short while a few years later in 1899. 


The Stowe estate was inherited in 1908 by her eldest son, the Master of Kinloss. who died in action in the First World War. His brother inherited the house, but although he had married locally, had neither the financial resources nor passion to maintain Stowe. It was then sold in 1921.  

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