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date: 20 October 2019

Bird, Francislocked

(b London, 1667; d London, Feb 1730–31).
  • John Physick

Extract

(b London, 1667; d London, Feb 1730–31).

English sculptor. He was born in the parish of St Martin-in-the-Fields and was sent to Flanders to the studio of a sculptor named Cozins (perhaps a member of the family of sculptors named Cosyns) and later to Rome. Back in England by c. 1689, he was employed by both Grinling Gibbons and Caius Gabriel Cibber, but he returned to Rome some years later, perhaps from 1695, and worked in the studio of Pierre Legros (ii). These journeys equipped him particularly with a knowledge of the Baroque in Rome and the works of Bernini. On his return to England, by 1700, after the death of Cibber, he was appointed by Sir Christopher Wren to undertake the major sculptural decoration of St Paul’s Cathedral, notably the pediment of the west front with its boldly dramatic representation of the Conversion of St Paul, for which he was paid £650 in 1706. He may have derived the pediment from Bernini or Legros but, since no drawings or models survive, this remains conjecture. He also carved the figures of the Evangelists and Apostles, over three and a half metres high, on the west and south fronts, receiving more than £2000, and the statue of ...

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Pelican History of Art