Unknown & Henry Cheere

William Adam, 1689 - 1748. Architect; father of Robert and John Adam (About 1740)

About this artwork

William Adam was born near Kirkcaldy in Fife, and went on to become the most prolific and distinguished Scottish architect of the early eighteenth century. Particularly renowned for his design of country manors such as Hopetoun House and Duff House (the latter of which now displays part of the National Galleries of Scotland’s collection), William’s architectural legacy was eclipsed only by that of his son, Robert Adam. William purchased estates in Kinross-shire, which he renamed 'Blair Adam'. Portrayed here as the gentleman architect, it has been suggested that the artist may be English sculptor Henry Cheere due to the handling of the drapery and cravat.

Henry Cheere

Henry Cheere

Cheere was one of the most successful English-born sculptors of mid eighteenth century London. He began his career as an apprentice in 1718 with Robert Harsthorne the elder, before setting up his own workshop in Westminster in 1726. He quickly established a business that produced a broad range of sculpture, including busts, monuments and decorative carving. From 1733 to 1736, Cheere was the chosen sculptor for the University of Oxford, and, by the mid-1740s, he was challenging established sculptors Peter Scheemakers and Michael Rysbrack for supremacy. With his appointment as carver for Westminster Abbey in 1743, Cheere developed designs based on traditional forms with ornamental additions. He received a knighthood in 1761 and became a baronet in 1766.