The increasing popularity among the English gentry at this time for the “Grand Tour” of Europe exposed them to classical statuary and contemporary sculpture evident in Italy and France. It was, therefore, similar statuary they wanted for their new gardens. Van Nost stepped in and supplied them with lead versions of these great works.
His many commissions for Melbourne Hall in Derbyshire included representations of Andromeda, Perseus, a grouping of Amorini and perhaps one of the most elaborate lead pieces made, the Vase of Four Seasons, standing eight feet high. John Cheere (1709-1787) was the most prolific of all leadmakers. His brother, Sir Henry Cheere (1703-1781), may have been a pupil of Van Nost but it was the younger Cheere who became more famous for producing lead ornaments. For Bowood House he produced fine figures of Apollo, Venus, Mercury, Flora. He created sphinxes for Blenheim Palace and at Stourhead, depictions of Pomona, Bacchus, Minerva and Venus, among others. One of his greatest works, the splendid River God in the Grotto, is also at Stourhead. And there was so much more elsewhere – Punch, Harlequin, kneeling Blackamoors, Shepherds, Shepherdess Fauns, Father Time and the incredible life size Gamekeeper firing a Gun at Biel House.