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Charles Rossi RA (1762 - 1839)

RA Collection: People and Organisations

Charles Rossi, the son of an Italian immigrant, was born in Nottingham in 1762. He was apprenticed to the Italian sculptor G. B. Locatelli, completing his apprenticeship in 1781. That same year Rossi entered the Royal Academy Schools, where he won two medals. During this time, he began exhibiting at the Royal Academy. In 1785 Rossi was awarded a travelling scholarship which enabled him to live in Rome between 1786 and 1788.

Once back in England, Rossi worked briefly for the Derby china works (1788) and the clockmaker Vulialmy (1789) before establishing himself as a sculptor. The two large lions he sculpted for the west watergate of Somerset House (then the home of the RA) in 1790 served notice of his talent. In the 1790s he produced large works with the mason-sculptor John Bingley and executed church commissions, graduating to major commissions, including four government commissions for memorials to military heroes of the French wars for St Paul’s Cathedral. His work also incorporated portrait busts (two of which are in the RA collection) and decorative work for architectural projects.

Other artists were often critical of Rossi’s work, but he was highly successful – in 1797 he was appointed as sculptor to the Prince of Wales and subsequently as sculptor-in-ordinary to George IV and to William IV. Rossi’s 1804 bust of the prince regent was widely admired, and he later executed a frieze of The Seasons at Buckingham Palace. In 1802 he was elected as a Member of the Royal Academy, where he continued to exhibit until 1834. Rossi died at his London home in 1839.


Royal Academician

Born: 8 March 1762 in Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England, United Kingdom

Died: 21 February 1839

Nationality: British

RA Schools student from 29 March 1781

Elected ARA: 5 November 1798

Elected RA: 10 February 1802

Gender: Male

Preferred media: Sculpture

Works by Charles Rossi in the RA Collection

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Works associated with Charles Rossi in the RA Collection

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Associated books

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Associated archives

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