Nicholas Stone the younger

So the question is: who was Nicholas Stone the younger and what was he doing in Rome chatting to Bernini ? The answer is that he was the second son of the Dutch-trained sculptor, who was responsible for so many of the greatest church monuments in Charles’s reign, including the great monument to John Donne in St. Paul’s. His mother was the daughter of Hendrick de Keyser in whose workshop in Amsterdam his father had trained. He trained in his father’s workshop, but decided to travel to Italy ‘being an ingenious youth, and desirous to learn some more art in Italy’. He set off in March 1638, met up with his older brother, Henry, in Paris, and they travelled together, first to Florence, where Nicholas did drawings from Grand Duke Ferdinand II’s art collections and then to Rome, where he planned ‘there to practise and attain a great perfection’ and, as described, met up with ‘Cavalyer Bernino’ on 22 October 1638. A few days later he was taken to see what Bernini was working on in St. Peter’s, was given advice about his drawings, and encouraged to spend time in Bernini’s workshop in order to learn ‘his manner of workeng’. He spent the next four years in Rome, before returning to London by way of Bologna, where he met Guido Reni. Back in London, he doesn’t seem to have made much use of what he had learned from his travels, other than trade in stone from his father’s yard and, according to George Vertue, palm off some of his own drawings as if they were ‘the works of famous Italian artists’. He died in 1647, the same year as his father.

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