Richard Parker

(d. 1570)

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(dbefore 17 Jan 1570). English sculptor. He introduced minimal Renaissance motifs to the alabaster tomb industry of Burton on Trent, Staffs, but retained the medieval tomb chest with recumbent effigies. His only surviving documented work, at Bottesford, Leics, relates stylistically to more than 20 other tombs dating between 1534 and 1570. In his will of 1534, William Blount, 4th Lord Mountjoy, proposed Parker as the sculptor of Mountjoy's projected tomb (unexecuted) at St Chad's, Barton Blount, Derbys. Of the same period is the tomb of Sir Richard Knightley at St Mary's, Fawsley, Northants, with powerfully carved effigies but with a tomb chest of Late Gothic form. In 1544 Parker received £20 for the tomb of Thomas Manners, 1st Earl of Rutland, at St Mary's, Bottesford. Although this tomb used angle pilasters of a Renaissance design, their form was atypical. More usual were flat relief motifs of vases and flowers, repeated with decreasing variation until a mistake in the carving of a vase rendered the design totally meaningless, as in the tomb of Thomas Blount (d 1568) at St Mary's, Kidderminster, Hereford & Worcs. Weepers around the base of the tombs also became more formularized.Parker's finest work, exemplified by the tomb of Lord Chief Justice Sir Thomas Bromley in St Andrew's, Wroxeter, Salop, dates from the two decades following the Reformation when output was relatively small. Thereafter greater demand led to increasingly repetitive designs, with the exception of the tomb of Francis Hastings, 2nd Earl of Huntingdon (d 1561), at St Helen's, Ashby de la Zouch, Leics. The inventory taken after Parker's death in 1570 reveals initial payments on two uncompleted commissions. His workshop did not survive his death, although Richard Royley adopted his pilaster design without alteration.

From The Grove Encyclopedia of Northern Renaissance Art in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Renaissance Art.

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