Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Deare, John

DEARE, JOHN (1759–1798), sculptor, born in Liverpool 26 Oct. 1759, was the son of a tax collector and jeweller of Castle Street. As a boy he had shown an aptitude for sculpture, and when sixteen was apprenticed to Thomas Carter of 101 Piccadilly, London, for whom he carved mantelpieces and monuments. After a few years of great application he was able to set up in rooms of his own, and obtained work from some of the best men of his time. At twenty he carried off the first gold prize medal granted by the Royal Academy for a design in bas-relief, ‘Paradise Lost,’ which was exhibited in the Liverpool Exhibition of 1784. In the spring of 1785 he was sent to Rome by the king and the Royal Academy, and settled there. His works were eagerly bought by both English and French collectors. In 1795 he sold three chimneypieces to the Prince of Wales, and executed a bust of Prince Augustus Frederick. Sir Richard Worseley had a fine ‘Marine Venus’ from his chisel; but his best work is said to be a bas-relief in the possession of Sir George Corbett, ‘Edward and Eleonora,’ the original model of which was given to the Royal Institution in Liverpool. There is also in that town a bas-relief over the dispensary modelled by Deare. He had married a beautiful Roman girl, and it has been said that the commander of the French troops in Rome, falling in love with his wife, imprisoned Deare, and caused his death. Mr. Charles Grignon, in whose arms Deare expired, informed Smith that he caught a fatal cold by sleeping on a block of marble of peculiar shape, expecting to get inspiration in his dreams for carving it. He died at his house in Rome 17 Aug. 1798, and was buried near the Pyramid of Caius Cestius.

[J. T. Smith's Nollekens and his Times; Smithers's Liverpool, 1825; Early Art in Liverpool; The Kaleidoscope, vol. iv. new ser. pp. 293, 294.]

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