Open main menu

SCHEEMAKERS, PETER (1691–1770), sculptor, was born at Antwerp in 1691. He went to Denmark, where he worked as a journeyman, and thence walked to Rome. Before he arrived there his means were so exhausted that he was obliged to sell some of his shirts. After a short stay in Italy, he came to London and worked for Pierre Denis Plumier and Francis Bird [q. v.] in company with Laurent Delvaux [q. v.], his friend and fellow-countryman, with whom and Peter Angelis [q. v.] he returned to Rome in 1728. He made numerous small models of celebrated groups and statues, which he brought with him to England in 1735, visiting his birthplace on the way. He first settled in St. Martin's Lane, and afterwards in Old Palace Yard, Westminster, in premises subsequently occupied by his pupil Cheere [see Cheere, Sir Henry]. In 1741 he removed to Vine Street, Piccadilly. He and Delvaux executed, as a trial of mastery, two marble groups of Vertumnus and Pomona and Venus and Adonis for the gardens at Stowe, and co-operated in the monuments to John Sheffield, duke of Buckinghamshire, and Dr. Hugh Chamberlain in Westminster Abbey. For the gardens at Stowe Scheemakers executed life-size statues of Lycurgus, Socrates, Homer, and Epaminondas, a bust of Richard Grenville, Earl Temple, a colossal statue of George II, and probably other works. His monuments in Westminster Abbey, besides the two already mentioned, are to Sir Henry Belasyse, Sir Charles Wager, Admiral Watson, Admiral Sir John Balchen, Lord Aubrey Beauclerk, Percy Kirk, Dr. Mead, Dr. John Woodward, and John Dryden, the last of which was erected by the Duke of Buckinghamshire. The statue of Shakespeare in the abbey was carved by him from the design of Kent. He also executed a monument to Dr. Mead for the Temple Church, statues of Sir John Barnard for the Royal Exchange, of William III at Hull, of Admiral Pocock, Major Lawrence, and Lord Clive for the India House, of Thomas Guy [q. v.] for Guy's Hospital, and of Edward VI for St. Thomas's Hospital. The last two are in bronze. His pictures, models, and marbles were sold by Langford in 1756 and 1757. Several of his works, including two large vases, were in Earl Tilney's collection at Wanstead House (sold in 1822); and at the seat of Lord Ferrers at Staunton Hall are busts by Scheemakers of the Hon. Laurence Shirley, tenth son of the first Earl Ferrers, his wife and four of their children. In 1769 he retired to Antwerp, where he died in the following year.

His son, Thomas Scheemakers (1740–1808), was also a sculptor. He exhibited sixty-two works at the Free Society of Artists and the Royal Academy between 1765 and 1804. He died on 15 July 1808, and was buried in St. Pancras old churchyard.

[Nollekens and his Times; Bradley's Popular Guide to Westminster Abbey; Redgrave's Dict. of English Artists.]

C. M.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.242
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

Page Col. Line  
414 ii 16 Scheemakers, Peter: after Exchange, insert the statue of William III at Hull,