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John Bushnell

(1636) sculptor


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(bapt. London, 22 Apr. 1636; bur. London, 15 May 1701).

English sculptor. In about 1657 he fled to the Continent after the sculptor to whom he was apprenticed, Thomas Burman (1618–74), tried to coerce him into marrying a pregnant servant he had himself seduced. Bushnell spent most of the next decade in Italy, where he assimilated much of the Baroque style (he probably saw Bernini's work in Rome) and helped to produce a monument to Alvise Mocenigo (1663–4) in S. Lazzaro dei Mendicanti, Venice. On his return to England, c.1669, he received important commissions and would have received more but for his difficult and unstable temperament (he died bankrupt and insane). His best-known works include statues of Charles I, Charles II, and Sir Thomas Gresham (1671) for the Royal Exchange, London (now in the Old Bailey), and the monument to Elizabeth Pepys (d1669), wife of Samuel Pepys, in St Olave's, Hart Street, London. Bushnell's work is extremely uneven, but he is an important figure, for he showed untravelled Englishmen for the first time something of the possibilities of Baroque sculpture.

Subjects: Art.


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