Edward Pierce

(c. 1635—1695)

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(bc.1635; d London, Apr. 1695).

English sculptor and mason, son of a painter (d1658) of the same name, some of whose decorative work survives at Wilton House, Wiltshire. Little is known of his early career, but from 1671 he was much employed by Christopher Wren on the rebuilding of the City of London churches, both as a mason and as a stonecarver. He was a woodcarver too, and his work in this field is of such quality that it has sometimes been credited to Grinling Gibbons. There are also a few portrait busts attributed to Pierce, the most notable being the life-size marble of Wren (c.1673, Ashmolean Mus., Oxford), brilliantly characterized and more convincingly Baroque than anything else of the date in English art. It is generally considered the best piece of English sculpture of the 17th century, but it has been suggested that the workmanship does not live up to the exuberance of the conception and that Pierce is here perhaps copying a lost bust by Coysevox. Pierce also worked as an architect, the Bishop's Palace, Lichfield (1686–7), being his chief documented building. There are several drawings by him in the British Museum, London.

Subjects: Art.

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