December 17th Henry Bone RA (Death)


 ‘The Prince of Enamellers

Truro – born Henry Pierce Bone RA (1755 – 1834) was appointed to the now obsolete office of ‘Official Enameller’ to three Kings, George III, George IV and William IV as an expert painter of both enamel and porcelain.

The son of a cabinetmaker, Bone’s father moved the family to Plymouth where Bone became apprenticed to William Cookworthy (April 12th), at Cookworthy’s Plymouth porcelain works, and moved with Cookworthy to the new Bristol china works, where he remained for six years. 

When Cookworthy’s Bristol factory closed, Bone moved to London and continued his enamelling activities.  On January 24th, 1780, he married Elizabeth Vandermeulen, with whom he had twelve children and also in the same year exhibited at the Royal Academy for the first time.  In 1801 he was appointed official enameller to George III and was elected to the Royal Academy in 1811 and produced his largest enamel yet, 18” by 16”, after Titian’s ‘Bacchus and Ariadne’ (pictured right) which was sold for 2,200 guineas. 

It has been estimated that Bone produced more than 500 enamelled plaques in his lifetime but his work went out of popularity a few years before his death in 1834. He offered his personal collection to the nation for £4,000 an offer which was declined although many of his pieces have now ended up in the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Tate and numerous other prestigious galleries around the world.


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