William Shakespeare (1554 - 1616).
by Louis Francois Roubiliac (1702 - 62).
The Davenant Bust.
Given that there no other examples of terracotta busts of Shakespeare by Roubiliac besides the British Museum bust bought by Matthew Matey and presented to the British Museum, this is almost the second of the three terracotta busts - either lot 73 or lot 83 on the second day 13 May 1762, or lot 86 on the Third day 14 May 1762 at the posthumous Roubiliac Sale held at the Studio in St Martin's Lane by Langfords of the Piazza Covent Garden.
There is mention of a possible third 'remarkable fine' terracotta bust in the John Stanley sale at Christie's in his Great Room in Pall Mall of 24 June 1786 to be sold alongside busts of Handel and Milton. (Clipping from Morning Post and Advertiser below).
See - Louis Francois Roubiliac by Katherine Esdaile, Pub Oxford 1928, page128.
As the Stanley bust has 'disappeared' it is tempting to suggest that it is the bust discovered by the pump in front of 39 Lincolns Inn Fields by William Clift of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1834,
Notice of the Stanley Sale at Christie's in Morning Post and Advertiser 22 June 1786.
A fascinating snippet which refers to busts of Milton, Shakespeare and Handel 'exquisitely modelled' by Roubiliac. The wording suggests that these three busts were terracottas modelled by Roubiliac. What is all the more remarkable is that John Stanley (1712 -1786), master of the Kings music was blinded in accident at the age of two.
John Stanley began a partnership with John Christopher Smith Jnr the former amanuensis of Handel after the death of Handel in 1760.
It should be noted that the dress on the two Roubiliac terracottas of Shakespeare, apart from the collar is very close to the terracotta bust of John Ray in the British Museum which was purchased at the Roubiliac sale by Dr Matthew Matey - another example of Roubiliac recycling his designs. He also uses the same basic bust for his portraits of Jonathan Tyers and Henry Streatfield.
For more on the Roubiliac busts of Ray, Tyers and Streatfield, see:-
So far no other examples of this version of the Roubiliac busts of Shakespeare in Terracotta, Marble or Plaster have reappeared.
The Chandos Portrait.
The Chandos Portrait
associated with John Taylor
Oil on canvas, feigned oval, circa 1600-1610
126 mm x 85 mm. image size;
Given by Francis Egerton, 1st Earl of Ellesmere, to the NPG in 1856
© National Portrait Gallery, London.
There was a contemporary copy of this portrait once owned by the painter Kneller, in the possession of Lord Rockingham in 1759.
George Vertue, writing on the Chandos Portrait in 1719 records -
The picture of Shakespeare ('the only' crossed out) one original in Posesion/ of Mr Keyck of the Temple. he bought for forty guinnea/of Mr Baterton who bought it off Sr W. Davenant. to whom it was left by will of John Taylor. who had/it of Shakespear.it was painted by one Taylor a player and painter contemp: with Shakes and his intimate friend. The name 'Richard Burbage' is crossed out in the margin. (later insertions in bold.
Mr Betterton told Mr Keck several times that the / Picture of Shakespeare he had, was painted by one John Taylor / in his will he left it to Sir William Davenant.& at / the death of Sir Will Davenant - Mr Betterton bought / it & at his death Mr Keck bought it in whose / poss.it now is (1719 in the margin).
Despite this there is still some doubt - Betterton is known to have embroidered his relationship with Shakespeare for his own ends
For an fuller discussion on the subject of this portrait see -
Searching for Shakespeare, Tarnya Cooper, Yale University Press. 2006.
A Copy of the 'Chandos' Portrait of William Shakespeare.
Government Art Collection.
They say by Roubiliac c.1758.
61 x 52 cms.
Presented to the British Museum on 1st February 1760 by Dr Matthew Maty along with a bust of The Rev Dr Clarke (perhaps by Guelfi - disappeared).
Purchased from the British Museum in June 1946 for £1.
Copy of the Chandos Portrait
With Philip Mould.
Possibly mid 18th century.
Oil on canvas.
57.2 x 45.1 cm.
Provenance - The North family, the Earls of Guilford, and by descent.
JT Smith in Nollekens and His Times 1828 II p.99 says that in the posthumous sale of Roubiliac there was a copy of the Chandos Portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds Reynolds, which was bought by John Flaxman I, the sculptor and caster of plaster figures John Flaxman RA's father, it afterwards belonged to Edward Malone who showed it to Reynolds 'who acknowledged that he had painted it for his friend Mr Roubiliac'
The portrait above is currently with Philip Mould Ltd.
I felt it was worth lifting the entire text from his website - written I suspect by Bendor Grosvenor.
This important portrait is a faithful replica of the well known ‘Chandos’ portrait of Shakespeare [National Portrait Gallery, London], which is thought to be the only undisputed likeness of the playwright in oil. The present picture was probably painted in the latter half of the eighteenth century, and possibly about the time the original portrait came into the possession of the James Brydges, 3rd Duke of Chandos, who owned it from 1783 onwards.
The validity of the Chandos portrait as showing Shakespeare relies mainly on its apparent early provenance. It has long been accepted as showing Shakespeare, and in the early eighteenth century was recorded by the art historian George Vertue as having belonged to the noted actor Thomas Betterton, and before that Sir William Davenant, who is widely thought to have been Shakespeare’s godson.
Unlike many copies of the Chandos picture, which are most often painted from engravings, this example must have been painted directly from the original portrait. As such, its fresh condition and vibrant colouring perhaps allows us to see what the original portrait may then have looked like, given that the Chandos picture is today so covered in discoloured varnish, over-paint and dirt.
The colouring of the present picture, with its vibrant whites of the collar and more animated modelling of areas such as the hair, gives an idea of how much brighter the Chandos picture must once have appeared. And perhaps more importantly, details of Shakespeare’s physiognomy, such as the outline of his nose, are seen here with greater precision.
In the present picture, for example, the nose is presented as more prominent than it now appears in the original, since most of the dark glazes with which the artist first drew Shakespeare’s outlines have been much abraded. Similarly, comparison between the Chandos picture and the present picture, together with another even earlier replica [Private Collection] shows that the Shakespeare we see in the Chandos picture today has artificially long hair, for in the Guilford version it stops well short of his collar. Likewise, the Chandos Shakespeare today has a pointy beard, which is not evident in the Guilford example.
We do not know who made such additions to the Chandos portrait, but we do know that in the mid-nineteenth century much was made of the fact that the Chandos Shakespeare seemed at odds with contemporary notions of Shakespeare’s image. One critic claimed that the picture showed a man ‘of decidedly Jewish physiognomy… with a coarse expression…’ It is likely, therefore, that additions such as the pointy beard and longer hair were added to the Chandos picture to make Shakespeare look more like the Bohemian playwright history has assumed him to be.
Lord Chesterfields Portrait of Shakespeare by Pieter Borsselaer.
The Chesterfield Portrait of William Shakespeare.
Oil on canvas, 127.5 x 120 cm.
This portrait, possibly by the Dutch painter Pieter Borsselaer (or Peter Borsseler, also Peter Bustler), was once owned by the Earl of Chesterfield.
Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.
See my next post on the British Museum Terracotta bust of Shakespeare for further details of this portrait.
This portrait, formerly in the possession of Lord Chesterfield is the obvious source for the Roubiliac Garrick Club and British Museum busts of Shakespeare
The Langfords four day Sale Catalogue the Roubiliac Workshop of May 1762 mentions a mould, and various busts and figures of Shakespeare.
First Day's Sale, Wednesday May 12th.
Under the heading - SUNDRIES in Plaister
Under the heading - MOULDS in Plaister for the following figures Busts, Basso Relievo's &s
Lot 50. Shakespear
Under the heading - FIGURES in Plaister
Lot 57. Shakespear
Lot 63. Shakespear
Under the heading - DESIGNS for monuments Basso Relievo's &c.
Lot 74. A figure of Shakespear
Under the heading - PICTURES &c
Lot 95 A figure of Shakespear in plaster
Second Days Sale, Thursday May 13th
Under the heading BUSTS in Terra cotta.
Lot 73. Shakespear
Lot 83. Shakespear
Third Day's Sale, Friday May 14th
Under the heading - BUSTS and Heads in Plaister
Lot 9. Shakespeare
Under the heading - MOULDS in Plaister for the following figures busts etc.
Lot 51. The figure of Shakespeare
Lot 55. Shakespear
Under the heading - BUSTS in Terra Cotta.
Lot 86. Shakespear
Fourth Day's Sale, Saturday May 15th.
Under the heading - BUSTS in Plaister.
Lot 5. Shakespear
Under the heading - Sundries in Plaister
Lot 32. A figure of Shakespear and two boys.
Under the heading - Marble BUSTS etc
Lot 74. Shakespear (probably the Fordam/ Folger Library marble bust)
Italics used above as in Esdaile
The Garrick Club 'Davenant' Terracotta Portrait bust of Shakespear.
Presented to the Club by the Duke of Devonshire in 1865.
The Socle is a replacement for a turned marble socle designed by Marcus Risdell.
The Davenent bust - is so called after Sir William Davenant (1606 - 68) who was the proprietor of the Dukes Theatre in Portugal Street, Lincoln's Inn Fields 1660 until his death in 1668, (Portugal Street runs parallel with Portugal Row the South side of Lincolns Inn Fields).
Originally built as a real tennis court, it was used as a playhouse during two periods, 1661–1674 and 1695–1705. A Real Tennis Court is about 70ft x 30 ft.
During the early period, the theatre was called Lincoln's Inn Fields Playhouse, also known as "The Duke's Playhouse", "The New Theatre" or "The Opera" - it opened on 28 June 1661.
The building was demolished and replaced by a purpose-built theatre for a third period, 1714–1728.
It was until very recently believed that at one time this Roubiliac bust had been made in the 17th Century - a story widely promoted is that the bust had originally been discovered by workmen, during the demolition along with a bust of Ben Jonson in a niche above the stage door where it had been bricked in after the Theatre had become a barracks in 1732. The building later became an Auction room and was opened as The Salopian China Warehouse in 1783 for Thomas Turner's Caughly porcelain (who first produced 'Willow Pattern' china. From 1794 - 1847 it was the warehouse of Copeland and Spode. It was demolished in 1848 to make way for an extension to the Royal College of Surgeons.
The Salopian Warehouse.
Anonymous water colour 1801.
Another view of the Salopian China Warehouse,
Communication from Marcus Risdell.
'Roubiliac original terracotta bust 1) Garrick Club bust, (rediscovered by William Clift, first curator of the Hunterian Museum) in 1834 (source is Clift's papers held at Royal College of Surgeons) it was found in the garden of No 39 Lincoln's Inn Fields by a water pump in a position I have identified in surveys made by the Royal College of Surgeons to have been right by the main entrance. It became known through association of the theatre as the Davenant Bust, but as we now suspect was sited at the theatre by Henry Giffard who attempted the last theatrical season there in 1742-43 (Incidentally Giffard also used a full size Scheemakers as a pantomime stage prop at his previous theatre Goodman's Fields where he first put on Garrick. This I covered in the catalogue: The Face & Figure of Shakespeare at Orleans House Gallery. Anyway I digress: the bust passed to Professor Owen who showed it at the Crystal palace, where it came to the attention of the Duke of Devonshire who bought it and gave it to the Garrick Club, who incidentally used to use it as a door stop'.
Not an unusual fate for portrait busts - the 16th century Lumley / Pomfret marble bust of Henry VIII suffered similar humiliation whilst it was in theAshmolean Museum offices, until rescued in the mid 20th century ( communication Michael Vickers).
List of the occupiers of 39 Lincolns Inn Fields.
No. 39.—From 1661 to about 1673, (fn. 23) Mrs. Anne Hearne (or Heron); in 1675, Rich. Duhamell; before 1683 to after 1700, Thos. Dove; 1708, Henry Desborough (fn. 24) before 1715 to 1749, Mary Grigson (fn. 25); 1750, Sir Thos. Garret; 1751–3, Sir Thos. Fitzgerald; 1754–6, Lady Powell; 1758, Robert Chester; 1759–73, Charles Scrase; 1774–95, Anthony Dickins; 1796–7, Mrs. Dickins; 1798–1804, Thos. Dickins; 1805–, Jon. Dennett.
Horwood's Map of London and Westminster, 1st Edition 1792 - 9.
showing location of Spodes warehouse formerly the Dukes Theatre.
Above, due North and running parallel is Portugal Row, the South side of Lincolns Inn Fields Number 37 appears to be linked with the warehouse. In 1800 the College of Surgeons removed from their premises in the Old Bailey to No. 41, Lincoln's Inn Fields going on to eventually occupying nos. 39 - 43.
Royal College of Surgeons 1814.
Royal College of Surgeons, 1814.
The Copies of the Garrick Club Bust:
1) Replacement for the Crystal Palace, Sydenham: presumed destroyed in the fire in 1936.
2) Copy kept by Professor Owen. On his death this bust, which he kept in his garden, was presented to the RSC where it surives in their collections today, a little worse for wear (see below).
3) Copy presented by Professor Owen in 1857 to the new of Museum of Australia, Sydney (together with some dinosaur skeletons) now in the Mitchell Library, Sydney.
This set of photographs and much useful information were provided by Marcus Risdell current curator of works of art at the Garrick Club to whom I owe a huge debt of gratitude, especially for clarifying the oft repeated but mostly fictional story of the busts recovery.
The Garrick Club Terracotta Bust of William Shakespeare.
Plaster Bust taken from the Davenant Garrick Bust.
The Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford on Avon bust.
The copy which had belonged to Professor Sir Richard Owen (1804 - 1892) - the Assistant Curator of the Royal College of Surgeons' Hunterian Collections from 1827 - he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, and appointed Hunterian Professor then Professor of Anatomy at the Royal College of Surgeons, then Fullerian Professor of Comparative Anatomy and Physiology at the Royal Institution.
Photograph supplied and info by Marcus Risdell.
Louis Francois Roubiliac.
578 mm tall.
Provenance: Bought by Dr Matthew Matey at the Posthumous Roubiliac Sale held at the Studio in St Martin's Lane by Langfords of the Piazza Covent Garden.
The only copy so far discovered of the sale catalogue is in the Finberg Collection at the British Museum. Unfortunately there is no annotation.
This is either lot 73 or lot 83 on the second day 13 May 1762, or lot 86 on the Third day 14 May 1762.
For more on this bust and the other busts purchased by Dr Matthew Maty at the Roubiliac sale and now in the British Museum see:
Portrait Sculpture, A Catalogue of the British Museum Collection. c 1675 -1975,
Aileen Dawson, pub. British Museum Press, 1999.
For more on this bust see my next post.
The Fordham Marble bust of William Shakespeare
Provenance: Acquired by AR Fordham's grandfather in 1859,
sold Sotheby's, Lot 54, on 15 November 1929.
Perhaps Lot 74 sold on the fourth day of the Roubiliac Sale on Saturday 15th May 1762.
Given that there are no marble versions of the terracotta Davenant and Maty busts extant or mentioned elsewhere this is a very distinct possibility.
Attributed to Louis Francois Roubiliac
Folger Shakespeare Library.
Height: 57 cm, Width: 50 cm, Depth: 26 cm
Victoria and Albert Museum.
Assumed to be the model for the stone bust in the Temple of British Worthies at Stowe, Buckinghamshire.
Given by Mrs M.A. Miller, Anglesey House, Isle of Wight in 1924 in memory of her father Augustus William Rixon, to whom the bust had previously belonged. A business card for E.W. Field, Dealer in Antiques and Works of Art, 28 Union Street, Ryde, Isle of Wight, was found amongst the papers relating to the objects offered as gifts to the Museum by Mrs Miller, and may indicate he acted as an agent for the donor.
This bust is directly derived from either the engraving by George Vertue or Gaspar Duchange of the original by Benjamin Arlaud (see below).
The Teddesley Hall Terracotta bust of William Shakespeare by Michael Rysbrack.
For Sir Edward Littleton (disappeared).
One of eight busts of British worthies - three now being in the National Maritime Museum - made by Michael Rysbrack for Sir Edward Littleton, for Teddesley Hall, his new house near Stafford (now demolished), which he was furnishing in the neo-classical style.
They comprised four pairs: Raleigh and Bacon (SCU0005), Shakespeare (disappeared) and Pope (Fitzwilliam), Cromwell (SCU0014) and Milton (Fitzwilliam), and Newton and Locke. Lord Hatherton (the Littleton barony dating from 1835) consigned these - excluding Shakespeare - and other Rysbracks that his ancestor had purchased, with the related Rysbrack letters about them, to Spink's for exhibition and sale in July 1932.
Spink's related illustrated catalogue by Mrs Arundell Esdaile ('The Art of John Michael Rysbrack in Terracotta') fully transcribes the letters and is otherwise comprehensive. She proposed that the undated one of Cromwell may have been the bust that Vertue saw in Rysbrack's workshop in 1732, which would make it the earliest. Old NMM record cards identify that of Pope as possbly 1735 and in the NPG ( wrong - in the Ashmolean with Milton); Milton as 1738, now at Stourhead (based on Rysbrack's Westminster Abbey monument and another bust done for William Benson) (wrong it is in the Ashmolean as is the bust Alexander Pope); Newton (1739), now at Trinity College, Cambridge; Locke (1755?) in the Royal Collection.
That of Shakespeare is unlocated but the V&A has one that may at least be a version.
Raleigh and Bacon were conceived as a pair and the most expensive at 25 guineas each, though the sources for the Raleigh are not certain and it was not started until the Bacon had been sent off in June 1757: the others were all 16 guineas. These two, with the Cromwell, were purchased for the Museum at Spink's by Sir James Caird. In 1930 he had already bought from Hatherton, also through Spink, Hogarth's portrait of Inigo Jones (BHC2810), which Sir Edward Littleton had commissioned as another British notable.
Info from National Maritime Museum -
The Alscot Park bust of William Shakespeare, 1760.
by Michael Rysbrack.
The Marble bust of William Shakespeare
Signed by Michael Rysbrack
Made for James West. P.R.S., F.S.A., (1703 - 72), Secretary to the Treasury and recorder successively for Poole and St Albans.
Formerly at Alscot Park
585mm tall. socle 215 mm tall.
Now at Birmingham Museum.
A Letter dated 16 January 1758 from Joseph Greene schoolmaster of Stratford on Avon to James West of Alscot Park:-
The first two paragraphs relate to his work on West's collection of books but the third and fourth relate to the making of Rysbrack's bust of Shakespeare.
If Mr Rysbrack carves your Shakespeare from ye mask you had of me, I am very sure it answers exactly to our Original bust; for Heath ye carver and I took it down from ye chancel wall and laid it exactly in a horizontal posture before we made ye cast, which we executed with much Care, So that no Slipping of the Materials could occasion ye unnatural distance in the face that he mentions.
If ye have ye Folio Edition of Shakespeare plays printed in 1632, there is facig ye Title-page a picture of ye Poet engraved by Martin Droeshout, and declared by Ben Johnson in a few verses affix'd to be a thorough resemblance of him. Mr Kendal our late recorder and I agreed in our sentiments that there was a Considerable lightness of that picture to ye bust in our church. I have not ye Cut but perhaps ye irregularity of features may be observed in that also.
If it could be done for an inconsiderable expense, before ye Mould is destroy'd I wish your Honour would Secure for me a plaister face from it.
I am with great thankfulness
Your Most oblig'd humble Servant
The next we hear is Rysbrack writing to Sir Edward Littleton in November 1759, by which time he had modelled the bust saying it was 'to the liking of every person who have seen it' and continues 'Mr West belonging to the Treasury who lives in Stratford upon Avon likes it so well that I am going to do it for him in Marble'
In his letters to Littleton he talks about receiving Lord Rockingham's portrait of Shakespeare (Knellers copy of the Chandos Portrait and says that he will make a drawing from it, though 'I don't think it is so good a Picture as they Brag of neither is there Spirit in it'
Although dated 1760 it must have remained in Rysbracks London workshop until 1763 when Rysbrack wrote to West on 11th July ' The last time You did me the Pleasure to call at my House, you said there Must be some letters put on the Pedestal of the Bust for Shakespeare which have been finishes a long while since. I desire You will please to let me have them and they shall be put on the pedestal directly, as I have nothing to live on but my Business I want money and am to Great Expenses to Continue where I am without business, I must therefore retire for my Own best Advantage'
I am, Sir
Your Most Obedient and humble Servant
If you do not want any letters put on the Pedestal, I will send it home as it is'
Tardiness with payment was a common occurrence and must have made very difficult for many artists and craftsmen of this period as this letter shows.
These letters are quoted from Michael Rysbrack, Sculptor, by MI Webb, pub. Country Life, 1954.
The Plaster bust of Shakespear supplied by John Cheere to James West at Alscot Park, Warwickshire
Medallion of William Shakespeare.
Jean Dassier (1676 - 1763)
Based on the engraving by George Vertue of 1721.
Silver 43 mm. diam.
After a miniature in the possession of Edward Harley, 2nd Earl of Oxford
See below for the Vertue engraving.
See my previous Blog post on the Dassier Medallions:
Monument of William Shakespeare
Etching and Engraving
225 x 156 mm. (image Size).
'Ingenio Pylium, Genio Socrates, arte Maronem, Terra Tegit, Populus Maeret, Olympus Habet. / Stay, passenger, why dost thou go so fast? Read if thou canst, whom envious Death has plac'd Within this Monument; Shakespear, with whom Quick Nature dy'd, whose Names doth deck the Tomb Far more than Cost, since all that he has Writ Leaves living Art, but Page to serve his Wit. / Obt. Ano. Dni. Aetat. 53.Die 23 Apr.
Illustration for Alexander Pope's edition of Shakespeare's works.
Engraving by Gaspard Duchange (1662 - 1757)
After Benjamin Arlaud (1670 - 1721).
180 x 115 mm.
The BM says after Arnaud's version of the Chandos portrait;
A closer inspection reveals that it is very close to the George Vertue engraving of 1721 (above) of the monument in St Mary Church Stratford upon Avon.
Illustration to Theobald's edition of the 'Works of Shakespeare'. 1733.
Engraving by George Vertue.
Despite the inscription it appears to be Vertue recycling his original engraving of 1715 of the Shakespeare monument in St Mary's Stratford.
Inscribed - Done from the original in the possession of Robert Keck of the Inner Temple Esq.
'Chandos portrait', now in the NPG, which was first recorded when it passed from the collection of Robert Keck to his cousin, Francis, on the former's death in 1719
After a miniature in the possession of Edward Harley, 2nd Earl of Oxford
228 x 163 mm.
'Ad Originalem Tabulam penes Edwardum Dominum Harley. / G. Vertue, Sculp. 1721.'.
Annotated in pencil on the verso 'front. to Pope's ed. of Shakspeare, 1725 / Qy a proof'.
I include the next engraving because Rysbrack would certainly have known of it or had a copy.
after Zoust (Gerard Soest) c 1600 - 1681.
Worked in England in the late 17th century.
Mezzotint by John Simon mid 18th century.
"Zoust pinx."; "Shakespeare Ob: A.D. 1616. AEtat: 53."; "Done from a Capital Picture in the Collection of T. Wright Painter in Coven Garden." and "I. Simon fe et ex."
345 x 250 mm.
John Simon: Mezzotinter. b. Normandy, trained Paris as a line engraver, fled to England as a Huguenot c.1700 where became a mezzotinter. Early work for Edward Cooper; by c.1720 published most plates himself. Ceased work after 1742. Plates sold in November 1761. Address (until late 1710s) Cross-Lane Long Acre (after 1720), Seven Stars in King Street, Covent Garden Golden Eagle in Villiers Street New Street, Covent Garden.
Gerard Soest (Zoust) (c.1600 - 1681).
Oil on canvas
765 x 645 mm.
It has been suggested that this portrait is based on the Chandos Portait possibly painted by John Taylor in about 1610.
George Vertue suggests that it is a painting of a man who resembled Shakespeare.
BBC your paintings records 50 paintings by Soest (Zoust).
Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.
Sir Thomas Clarges, c. 1667;
Thomas Wright, c. 1685 - c. 1725;
William Douglas, Esq., c. 1790;
Captain Drake sale, Tregoning, Penryn, Cornwall, 30 March 1807, lot 19, as Portrait of Shakespeare, supposed by Zoust, 2' 9§ x 2' 1§ in a black and gilt frame;
John Lister Kaye (Sir), c.1827; Stamford (Earl of); J. F. Grey, (Sir); Christie's sale, 9 April 1954, lot 92.
Bought from Antiqualia Lda., Lisbon Portugal in 1959
The subject of Shakespeare portraits is something of a minefield - I have tried to concentrate on the portrait busts of Roubiliac and Rysbrack and the engraving which would have influenced their depictions of the Bard b
Apologies to all Bardolagists.