Details of Sculptor

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Surname Adye Alternative Surname Ady
First Name Thomas Initial of Surname A
Year of Birth/Baptism Flourished 1712-53
Year of Death
Biographical Details Adye was sculptor to the Society of Dilettanti from 1737 to 1744. In 1738 he carved an ornamental ballot box for the Society depicting the Tomb of Bacchus (12) and other work in ivory. When the Mansion House in London was being furnished in 1752 he submitted estimates for lamp-stands, ‘six rich carved frames with looking glasses’ and ‘six brackets richly carved’. These do not appear to have been accepted, though he was paid later in the year for ‘atlases and globes of glass for lights’ (City Corp MSS Mansion House Box 2, 644 and 663, cited by Gunnis 1968, 15).
He signs a few funerary monuments, with portrait medallions, sometimes held by a seated female figure. They are adaptations of designs published by James Gibbs in A Book of Architecture, 1728. The monument to Charles Sergison has a draped personification of Prudence perched on a sarcophagus, reminiscent of Gibbs’s and Michael Rysbrack’s monument to John Smith in Westminster Abbey. Adye adds a cherub (2). The William Mitchell monument is very similar, though here the boy holds an extinguished torch and the seated woman is identifiable as Mitchell’s widow (7). The boy with a torch appears by himself holding the medallion on the monument to Lane Harrison at Perivale (4); two boys hold draped portrait medallions on the monuments to Sir John Cotton, Hugo Raymond and Humphrey Hall (1, 3, 6) and a lady alone supports Sir James Hallett’s profile portrait (8). Whinney says that Adye modelled his style on Rysbrack’s work in his treatment of the figures and draperies, but that his knowledge of anatomy was weak.
Adye’s bust of the 7th Earl of Westmorland, 1742, was almost certainly ordered by Lord Cobham for the Temple of Friendship at Stowe (9), where it was sited with busts by Peter Scheemakers and Rysbrack. He is presented in classical armour and with cropped hair, looking authoritatively to his right. His expression carries conviction and the armour is finely realised. On stylistic grounds Adye is thought to have carved the bust of Paul Joddrell, c1740 (VAM), another classicising portrait with short curled hair, draperies and a severe demeanour. He apparently left his widow badly off, for in 1762 she had to apply for financial assistance from the Society of Artists.
Literary References: Gunnis 1968, 15; Whinney 1971, 71-5; Whinney 1988, 149, 247, 248; Bilbey 2002, 43-4; Craske 2007, 121
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