James Heath ARA the Engraver
Drawn by W Behnes 1819
Etched by Mrs Dawson Turner
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In 1813, William Behnes enrolled at the Royal Academy schools, intending to train as a painter. After he had received lessons in modelling from Peter Francis Chenu, however, he turned to sculpture. He was awarded a gold medal by the Society of Arts in 1819 for inventing 'an instrument for transferring points to marble'. From the 1820s to the 1840s Behnes was one of the country's most prolific and successful portrait sculptors and, in 1837, he was appointed sculptor-in-ordinary to Queen Victoria. His pupils included noted sculptors George Frederic Watts and Thomas Woolner, and naturalist Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins. There is a good selection of his work in the National Portrait Gallery in London.