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Flaxman, John,1755–1826, English sculptor and draftsman. At 20 he went to work for Josiah Wedgwood, designing the cameolike decorations for Wedgwood's pottery. Later, in Rome, he devoted himself to sculpture and produced outline figure drawings from Greek vases as illustrations for works of Homer, Dante, Aeschylus, and Hesiod. These were engraved by his friend William Blake. He is well known for his neoclassical memorial sculpture of Sir Joshua Reynolds, Admiral Earl Howe, and Lord Nelson (all: St. Paul's Cathedral).
Born July 6, 1755, in York; died Dec. 7, 1826, in London. English sculptor and graphic artist; representative of classicism.
Flaxman studied at the Royal Academy of Arts in London from 1770 to 1772 and became a professor there in 1810. From 1787 to 1794 he worked in Rome. He sculpted official monuments, including memorial stones in Westminster Abbey and St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. He executed elegant drawings in the style of ancient Greek vase painting to illustrate the Iliad and the Odyssey, the plays of Aeschylus, and Dante’s Divine Comedy (published 1793–1807 in engravings by T. Piroli). From 1775 to 1787, Flaxman created harmoniously clear reliefs in the antique spirit for the pottery manufacturer J. Wedgwood.