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John Cheere, 1709–1787
after Giambologna, Flemish, 1529–1608
Samson Slaying a Philistine
between 1740 and 1770
Materials & Techniques:
Overall: 79 15/16 inches (203 cm)
Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund, in honor of Jane and Richard C. Levin, President of Yale University (1993-2013)
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Paintings and Sculpture
Subject Terms:
Philistine | religious and mythological subject | Samson in conflict with the Philistines (Judges 15:1-8)
Associated People:
Not on view
IIIF Manifest:

This scene is taken from a biblical narrative in which the Israelite hero Samson defeats an army of Philistines using only an animal bone as a weapon. The sculpture depicts the dreadful moment before Samson delivers the deadly blow to a Philistine soldier, whose contorted body is pinned to the ground. Made in Britain in the eighteenth century, it is a copy of a famous and influential sculpture carved by Giambologna, a Flemish-born sculptor active in Florence. Giambologna’s work had initially been intended as a centerpiece of a fountain but was sent abroad as a diplomatic gift and eventually entered the collection of King Charles I of England as a masterpiece of Italian Renaissance sculpture. Unlike the original, which was carved from a single block of marble, this copy was one of a number cast in lead by John Cheere, the leading producer of garden statuary in Britain at that time.

Gallery label for installation of YCBA collection, 2022

John P. S. Davis, Antique Garden Ornament, 300 years of creativity , Antique Collectors' Club, Woodbridge, Suffolk, 1991, pp. 36,42,43, SB473.5 D38 1991 (HAAS) [ORBIS]

Angela Delaforce, Rococo Variations, The Palatial Pleasures of Queluz, Portugal , ICON Magazine, World Monuments Fund, New York, NY, Spring 2004, pp. 36-37, V2397 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Terry Friedman, The Man at Hyde Park Corner, Sculpture by John Cheere, 1709-1787 , Temple Newsam House, Leeds, 1974, Cat. 3, NJ18 C42788 F75 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Moira Fulton, John Cheere, the eminent statuary, his workshop and practice 1737-1787, Sculpture Journal, vol. x, Public Monuments and Sculpture Association, London, 2003, p. 24, NB1 S39 (HAAS) [ORBIS]

Rupert Gunnis, Dictionary of British Sculptors 1660-1851, Murrays Books sales, London, 1968, p. 100, NB496 G85 1968 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA), Acceptance in Lieu, Report 2009/2010 , Birmingham, 2010, p. 23, front cover, V 2400 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Restored John Cheere sculptures from Quelez Palace, Lisbon, on show at Tate Britain , World Monuments Fund Britain, 2009, p. 2, V2398 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Ingrid Roscoe, A biographical dictionary of sculptors in Britain, 1660-1851, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 2009, pp. 265, 267, no. 45, 77, NB496 B56 2009 (YCBA) (Wall Shelf 3) Yale electronic resource also available online: Orbis [YCBA]

Southill, A Regency House, , Faber & Faber, London, 1951, pp. 55,79, NA7625 S68 S68 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Tomasso Brothers, John Cheere (London 1709-1787), after Giambologna (Douai 1529-Florence 1608) , 2012, pp. 1-2, V2399 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Jane Turner, The Dictionary of Art, The Macmillan Company, New York, NY, 1996, p. 528, vol. 6, N31 D5 1996 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Lawrence Weaver, English Leadwork, its art & history , B.T. Batsford, London, 1909, pp. 166-167, NK8350 W43 OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

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