A Biographical Dictionary of Sculptors in Britain, 1660-1851
Details of Sculptor
Initial of Surname
Year of Birth/Baptism
Year of Death
Nicholas Collett †1804
Nicholas Collett was a specialist wood-carver, employed by Joseph Wilton RA on carving the state coach designed by Sir William Chambers (4). J T Smith described him as ‘a little man, who from his superior ability was honoured by Mr Waldron, the actor, with the characteristic epithet of A Garrick of a Carver’.
Other woodcarvers of the same name and presumably from the same family were ‘Mr Collett’ who was employed to carve a horse for ‘the late Mr Hackett, of Long-acre as large as the life, for the purpose of showing the harness upon (2)’. This was modelled from the measurements of a stud horse belonging to the King of Hanover. Part of the statue of Queen Elizabeth and ‘some other woodwork’ were carved by the same artist for her effigy in the Royal Armoury (1).
William Collett was a close friend of Thomas Gainsborough. His subjects ‘were chiefly selected from the domestic animal fables of Aesop, and now and then to be met with in the tablets of chimneypieces.’ One such was often repeated: ‘a shepherd’s boy, eating his dinner amidst his flock, under the shade of a tree, with his dog begging by his side’ (Builder 1854, 72).
Literary References: Marsden and Hardy 2001, 6, 12 fn 31, 33
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