CHEERE, Sir Henry
(b. 1703, London, d. 1781, London)


English sculptor, part of a family of sculptors. He was apprenticed in 1718 to the mason Robert Harsthorne (active 1715-1528), and by 1726 he had established his own sculptor's yard near St Margaret's, Westminster, London. He worked initially with Henry Scheemakers (d. 1748) on the vast monument to the 1st Duke of Ancaster (c. 1728; Edenham, Lincs), in which the life-size figure of the Duke clad in Roman armour is set against a marble niche flanked by Corinthian columns.

During the 1730s Cheere executed the statues of Queen Caroline for Queen's College, Oxford, and of Christopher Codrington for All Souls, Oxford. His monument to Lord Chief Justice Raymond (d 1732) at Abbot's Langley, Herts, is a 'conversation-piece', for Raymond accepts his coronet from a putto. The artist's use of small forms is characteristic of the Rococo.

In 1743, Cheere was appointed "Carver" to Westminster Abbey, an appointment which led to his creation of at least nine monuments in the Abbey. In July 1748, Cheere joined William Hogarth and other artist friends on a trip to Paris, and then on to Flanders and the Netherlands.

In 1750, he was appointed a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. He was knighted in 1760 and created a baronet, of St Margaret's, Westminster in 1766. Cheere was one of a group who unsuccessfully attempted to promote an English academy of arts (prior to the establishment of the Royal Academy).

He retired from business and sold the contents of his workshop in March 1770.

Sir Henry worked in a Rococo style. He is known for his sculpture for Oxford University as well as his small monuments that use coloured marble.