Biography of Plura, Giuseppe (British sculptor, active 1777-1786)
|Name||Plura, Giuseppe (British sculptor, active 1777-1786)|
Giuseppe Plura was an Italian sculptor who worked in Bath. He was the son of Carlo Plura of Lugano and Turin. Carlo Plura may have been the Plura recorded as a stuccoist working at Castle Howard from 1711-1712. Giuseppe Plura probably trained in Turin at the Carlo Emanuelle III Sculpture Academy and may have completed his training in Paris. He emigrated to England and by 1749 had settled in Bath where he was known as Joseph. He appears to have begun his career there as an assistant of Prince Hoare and is said to have been responsible for carving the statue of Beau Nash in the Pump Room in 1752. Coincidentally, Prince Hoare was in Italy in 1749 and may possibly have encouraged Plura to come to Bath. The Hoare and Plura family remained linked into the next century.
In 1753 Plura set up his own studio in Bath. On 1 October 1753 the City accounts show that he paid 6s. 8d for the seal of his 'Statuary' lease. Unfortunately, the location of the studio is not recorded. In the same year Plura was paid £26 5s. for carving the Coat of Arms in the tympanum of the pediment of the Edward VI Grammar School, for which his father-in-law was a benefactor. In the same year he executed a bust of Mrs Gratiana Sharington Davenport (nee Rodd) that is now on long-term loan to Lacock Abbey. In 1755 Plura completed the five busts of Worthies for the façade of King Edward's Grammar School. These were removed to storage in 1978.
Plura married Mary Ford, the daughter of a local buildings contractor, John Ford (1711-1767), Alderman of the City of Bath. Ford worked for John Wood, undertaking the masonry, plumbing, tiling, plastering and painting of many of his houses. Joseph Plura and Mary Ford had three children, Mary (b.1751), baptised at St Swithin's Church, Walcot, Joseph (b.1753) and John (b.1755).
By April 1755 Plura had moved to London, taking a studio in Oxford Row. However, in March 1756 Plura died of a fever. His young widow and children returned to Bath. Mary, his eldest child was working as a milliner in Milsom Street in 1773. She married Thomas Bartrum and they called their first-born child Joseph Plura Bartrum. John Plura is recorded as running a boarding house on Milsom Street in 1780 and 1782. He went on to become an upholsterer and auctioneer and was a freemason of the City. Diana and Endymion passed through the Bartrum family and remained in Bath until the turn of the century. Joseph Plura the Younger entered the R.A. Schools in 1773. He travelled to Italy with the artist Thomas Jones and was alive in 1789 when he was recorded in Little Litchfield Street, London.