Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Rysbrack Plaster Equestrian Statuette of William III, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery

The Plaster Equestrian Statuette of William III.
circa 1732 - 36.
Michael Rysbrack.

Bristol Museum and Art Gallery.
On loan from Hull City Museums and Art Galleries.
 Plaster Statuette of William III
692 mm including the base
Bristol Museum and Art Gallery.
Photographs David Bridgwater.

This statuette was first recorded on display in the Wilberforce House Museum, Hull in 1927.
At the time it was believed to be related to Scheemakers lead statue of William III in Hull but close examination reveals it to be a version of Michael Rysbrack's equestrian bronze of William III in Queens Square in Bristol.
There was an identical cast in the collection of GK Beaulah, Hessle, Hull which had previously been bronzed but had been recently gilded (Eustace 1982).

Information from -

  Exhibition Catalogue - Rysbrack - City of Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, 1982. Katherine Eustace.
National Gallery of Victoria, Australia

Andrew Snape Equestrian Anatomy

Anatomy of an Horse.
Andrew Snape (b. 1644).
Farrier to King Charles II.
The plates are based on those in Carlo Ruini’s Anatomia del Cauallo, infermitaÌ€, et suoi rimedii, first published in Venice 1559.
From - National Library of Medecine


Monday, 22 August 2016


The Torrie Ecorché.
A Bronze, Equestrian Statuette.

Attributed to Giambologna (1529 - 1608), 1585.
but perhaps a cast by Valadier (1762 - 1839) or Righetti
This version with the University of Edinburgh since 1836.
90.2 x 87.3 x 23 cm. plinth: 81.1 x 41.6 x 7 cm.
For an interesting article in French see -
Le cheval en images. Art et société - Anatomie, esthétique et didactique
The Torrie horse bears a close relationship to several drawings by da Vinci related to this project in the collection of Her Majesty the Queen at Windsor. Other artists, too, knew and learned from da Vinci’s study of the horse, but none came so close as Giovanni da Bologna to his vision of the beauty of the animal celebrated by art and science together.
This ecorche bronze horse of Giovanni da Bologna is in the Museum of Fine Arts at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. The Edinburgh horse was acquired by Sir James Erskine of Torrie from the Villa Mattei in Rome, probably in 1803. He bequeathed it to the University of Edinburgh with the rest of his collection of old master paintings and bronzes, and it came into the possession of the University in 1836.
The date of its purchase and size would suggest that it is not an original but a copy of the Mattei Horse (see below).
Illustration from Carlo Ruini (1530 - 1598), Anatomia del Cavallo, Venetia: Fioravante Prati, 1618.

Figure 2
The Bronze Equestrian Ecorche
From the Villa Mattei, now in the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence.
Christophe. © Degueurce, Christophe, mars 2014.
Bronze Equestrian Ecorche cast after the Mattei Horse.
Christie's King St. London 4 July 2013, Lot 10.

90.5 x 87.2 x 30.5 cm.)

Christie's attributed this bronze to Giusseppi Valladier
Reduced copy of the Mattei Bronze Ecorche
cast by Francesco Righetti
23.3 x 20.4 cms (1749 - 1819)
This bronze with the estimable dealers Tomasso Brothers in August 2016.
Tomasso Brothers state that it was at one time considered to be a study by Giambologna (1529-1608) for the equestrian statue of Cosimo I de’ Medici. Whilst evidence to support such a theory has not to this day come to light, the pose of the Écorché certainly recalls the Flemish master’s famed Pacing Horse, and an engraving in Carlo Ruini’s treaty Anatomia del Cavallo features an Écorché closely comparable to the present model.
These considerations strongly point towards a 16th century prime composition, possibly to be identified with the so-called Mattei Horse now in Palazzo Vecchio, Florence (92.5 cm high), documented in the Mattei collection in Rome from 1703 and subsequently in the possession of Cardinal Fesch (1763-1839), until sold in his estate’s 1814 sale. 
It was already famous at the beginning of the 18th century, when Pope Clement XIV had forbidden its sale, at the end of the century the Mattei Horse was cast in bronze by Luigi and Giuseppe Valadier. The former was Righetti’s master, which explains the sculptor’s familiarity with this composition and its presence in the catalogue of works offered by Righetti’s studio published in 1794.
see - F. Righetti, Aux Amateurs de l’Antiquite et des Beaux Arts, Rome, 1794, p. 3, as ‘Chéval ecorchè de Mattei’


Bust of Edmund Waller by Michael Rysbrack

The Marble Bust of the Politician, Poet Edmund Waller
(1606 - 87). of Hall Barn, Beaconsfield
by Michael Rysbrack.
Originally at Hall Barn, Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire.
Location unknown believed sold at the Hall Barn Sale
62 cms.
Signed M Rysbrack Fecit and dated 1728
Probably based on John Riley's Portrait.
Almost certainly commissioned for Hall Barn by Harry Waller the poet's grandson
Very low res photograph.
For a short biography see - http://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1660-1690/member/waller-edmund-i-1606-87
David Loggon 1685
Plumbago on Vellum
Engraving by George Vertue after Kneller
Edmund Waller, by George Vertue, after  Sir Godfrey Kneller, Bt, published 1729 - NPG D30150 - © National Portrait Gallery, London
George Vertue after Kneller
Edmund Waller by John Riley (d.1691).
Engraving after Sir Peter Lely
Edmund Waller, by Peter Vanderbank (Vandrebanc), mid to late 17th century - NPG D27293 - © National Portrait Gallery, London
Peter Vanderbank after Lely
Photograph from Country Life, 1898.
see -
Hall Barn
Photographed before the removal of the Victorian additions on the left in 1968

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Brief Biography of John Nost II d.1729

Brief Biography of John Nost II d.1729.
Lifted entirely from
John Nost II was the cousin of John Nost I, and ran the family workshop until 1729. His business was chiefly in lead garden figures, but also included a number of large-scale equestrian statues of George I.

Nost I left his cousin £50 in his will and an extra £10 ‘towards discharging’ his debts, which suggests that the young man began his adult life inauspiciously. Nost II continued to pay rates for the property previously occupied by Nost I in Stone Bridge, near Hyde Park, from September 1710, and he managed to retain some of Nost I’s patrons, including Sir Nicholas Shireburn of Stonyhurst, who bought several garden figures in 1714 and 1716 (3, 4). Among his new clients was Edward Dryden of Canons Ashby (2), who owed the sculptor £65 5s for a gilt gladiator in 1713 (Nost II/Dryden).
Little is known of his family background, except that he had a sister called Mary Butler (or Buller), who was mentioned in Nost I’s will. He married Catherine Cheesborough at St Martin-in-the-Fields in 1708 and they already had two children in 1710, both of whom received £5 in his will. One of these, another Catherine, was baptised at St Martin’s on 27 March 1710.

Frances Nost, the widow of Nost I, died in 1716, leaving Nost II ‘all the marble goods and figures at his house which belongs to me’. She also released him from ‘all debts and moneys from him to me due and owing at the time of my decease’, which suggests that his fortunes had not improved.
By 1717 the business was evidently prospering, for Nost received a commission for a bronze statue of King George I from the corporation of Dublin (12). They agreed in that year to pay the sculptor £1,500, and a part-payment of £500 to ‘Mr John Noast of London, statuary’ was made in August 1721. Nost cast the figure of the horse from moulds made from Le Sueur’s statue of King Charles I at Charing Cross, and went on to use the cast to produce several more lead versions for other patrons, including the extravagant Duke of Chandos, whose gilded statue with a handsome pedestal carved with trophies of war, was erected at Canons (Canons Grand Inventory). The statue, which terminated a vista in the gardens, was singled out for appreciative comment by an anonymous Frenchman visiting in 1728.
Nost may have provided several other figures for Canons: the 1725 inventory includes, for instance, such parapet figures as Courage represented by Hercules with his club, History with a table & pen in her hand, and Fame sounding a trumpet, all subjects associated with the Nost workshop. Several Whig patrons followed the Duke’s example and Nost’s workshop became associated with equestrian figures of George I, presented as a conquering hero in plate armour and crowned with laurels. A very similar image in lead appeared outside the market hall in Gosport (8), there was a gilt version in Grosvenor Square that cost £260.19s (17), and two leading figures in the Whig ministry, Lord Cobham and the Duke of Bolton, advertised their political allegiance with versions of the statue sited in pivotal positions at Hackwood and Stowe (11, 16).

In 1716 Nost took over another property from the sculptor Edward Hurst, next to his premises in Stone Bridge. The two buildings were rated at £12 and £18 respectively. By 1720 one of them was vacant and in 1722, Nost’s name disappeared from the Stone Bridge rate books. He paid annual rates of £20 from 1720 until his death in 1729 on another property, a yard in neighbouring Portugal Row.
In April 1718 Nost made an agreement with Sir John Germaine to supply to Drayton House, Northants ‘two leading Statues Six footh hey from the plint, one a [...] for a [...] and the Other figur a backus according to the patrons showed to the Sd. Sr. John, and also to make three Leadin Vasis upwards of four footh high of two Severall Sorts’ (24). He also agreed that ‘the Sayd figurs and Vasis Shal be painted twice over with a White Stone colour’. The price set for this commission was £40 and Nost’s signed receipt, dated 27 May 1718, records the supply (Drayton Archive MM/A/723). Another paper in the same archive headed ‘quitance de Mr. Nost Statuaire’ records the above payment and date as well as other charges for porterage, with an intriguing payment of one guinea ‘a la femme francaise’. An earlier receipt in the Drayton Archive labelled ‘Quitance des vases’ headed London and dated 6 October 1710 but with an indecipherable signature is for twelve vases costing £60 (ibid, MM/A/675). This almost certainly refers to lead vases above colonnades in the courtyard at Drayton, for which there are bills, also dated 1710, which the mason John Woodall, who had earlier worked there for the architect William Talman, was building. Today there are only eight vases. The London heading for the receipt suggests that this also refers to the Nost yard.
Further evidence of John Nost’s ability to retain Nost I’s patrons comes from two contracts drawn up eight years after his elder cousin’s death. These were for lead statues for the 1st Earl of Hopetoun’s gardens at Hopetoun House, near Edinburgh. The first contract, dated 24 May 1718, was for four metal statues, Cain and Abel, Diana, a Gladiator and Hercules with a club, at a cost of £86. The second, dated 20 June 1718, was for Adonis with a greyhound, Venus with Cupid, Venus coming out of the bath, and Phaon playing on a pipe (7). These were to cost £56 (Nost/Hopetoun MS). The contract says Nost was to deliver the first statues to Scotland ‘by the latter end of July next’ and the second batch was to arrive by 1 October. Surprisingly, the goods did not arrive until 16 September 1719 and this is confirmed by a shipping order, dated 28 February 1719, for ‘fave larg’ casses of Leaden status’ with a freight charge of one guinea to cover the journey from London to Leith (Nost/Hopetoun MS) and a receipt accepted by ‘Mr. John Nost’ for the total of the two contracts, £142, dated 14 September 1719 (Nost/Hopetoun MS). The only statues from the large number named in the 1709 estimate sent by John Nost I were the Bacchus and Ceres. None of these works remain at Hopetoun.

The Duke of Chandos called him back to Canons in 1723 to inspect some vases which appeared to be in danger of falling from the parapet. Chandos paid him £480 10s between 1722 and 1725, probably for vases and lead figures in the extensive pleasure-grounds. He also provided a statue of George II, ordered at the time of the King’s accession in 1727. This was sold at the Canons auction in 1747 and erected in Golden Square in 1753 (18).
One of Nost’s last works, his only known monument, celebrates Joseph Banks and was erected at Revesby, Lincs, shortly before the sculptor’s death (1). A letter from Nost to Banks’s son refers to an order for chimneypieces and concludes ‘I desire to know whether I can have the picture of your father, for I am going on with the monument, and the head will take more time in finishing, for the more time I take in doing itt the better it will be completed’ (Hill 1952, 93).

He died in April 1729, and two obituaries survive. The Political State of Great Britain recorded ‘Sunday the 27th, died Mr Nost, a famous Statuary, at his House near Hyde-Park Corner’ and The Historical Register announced ‘Dyd Mr Nost, a noted Statuary’. The administration of his will was granted to his widow Catherine Nost on 23 May 1729. His son, John Nost III (often known as ‘the younger’) was at that time apprenticed to Henry Scheemakers.

Nost appears to have been the man referred to by Vertue as a nephew of Nost I, ‘who drove on the business but never studied – nor did himself anything tolerable’ (Vertue IV, 35). If so, this is a harsh judgement to pass on a sculptor who successfully ran the family workshop for 19 years and provided memorable iconic portraits of the first Hanoverian king. Nost was confused with his cousin John Nost until the recent discovery of his will and posthumous sale catalogue. To add to the confusion Musgrave’s Obituary mistakenly indexed him with the forename Gerard.
Literary References: Northampton Mercury, 13 Dec 1725; PSGB, v38 (1729), 425; Voyage d’Angleterre, 1728; Hist Reg, v14, (1729), 28; Vertue IV, 35; Musgrave 1899-1901, IV, 309; Hill 1952, 93; Webb 1957 (3), 119; Stonyhurst 1964, 479; O’Connell 1987, 802-6; Davis 1991 (1), passim; Grove 23, 1996, 253-4 (Murdoch); Spencer-Longhurst 1998, 31-40; Jenkins 2005, 64; Sullivan 2005, 8
Archival References: WCA, Highways Rate, 1710 (F5311-2); Poor Rate 1712, (F3574); Poor Rate 1716, (F3597), Highways, 1722 (F5550); Nost II/Dryden; Nost II casting warrant; Voyage d’Angleterre, 1728; Canons, Accounts with Tradesmen; Nost/Hopetoun MS; Canons Grand Inventory; Chandos catalogue, June 19, lot 57, June 26, lots 54-61; IGI
Wills: John Nost I (proved 12 August 1710 LMA, Archdeaconry of Middlesex, AM/PW 1710/89); Frances Nost (proved December 1716, FRC PROB 11/555/fols 195v-196v); John Nost’s Admin, 23 May 1729 (FRC PROB 6/105 fol 95)

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Statue of the Duke of Cumberland, by John Cheere formerly on a Column at Emmet Square Birr Ireland

The Lead Statue of the Duke of Cumberland d.1765),
by John Cheere.

Formerly on top of a Column at Emmet Square, Birr, (Parsons Town) County Offaly, Ireland.
Removed in 1915.

In 1747, Sir Laurence Parsons of Birr Castle who had inherited the estate in 1740, commissioned a statue of the Butcher Cumberland and erected it on top of the handsome Doric column that stood at the heart of his town.

The newly formed Birr Freemason’s Lodge paraded in the towns’ equally new Palladian ‘Cumberland Square’ to mark the occasion.
The Column was designed by Samuel Chearnley (1717 - 46).

Design by Chearnley in Armagh Public Library.

A letter written by a William Sturgeon  to  the  Bishop  of  Meath,  of  24 March 1743, quotes Chearnley as saying: "I have always been a lover of architecture but this is the first essay which Sir Laurence has put to me". This makes explicit both Parsons’ patronage of Chearnley, but also could be said to hint at their collaborative relationship.
This letter also contains Chearnley’s acknowledgement of Claude Perrault’s Ordnances des Cinq Especes des Colonnes,translated into English in 1708, as the source for his design of his column in Birr.

The statue itself was personally paid for by Parsons. It was executed by Cheere of London, the same artist who executed the monument in memory of the Earl of Cork, on the north side of the altar in Christ's Church, Dublin. Things did not go wholly to plan. In a letter the Cheeres, expressed surprise when a crack appeared in the Duke’s leg, but insisted that it could be mended by a plumber and to pacify Sir Laurence, they included in the price a plaster bust of Cumberland, polished to imitate marble which, they noted, was ‘exceeding like and very handsome to stand in a room upon a table or chimney piece’
Dublin Journal of 3 June 1746 
"Sir Laurence Parsons, Bart and other Gentlemen in the King’s County, from a Principle of Loyalty, are going at their own expense to raise a marble pillar, fifty foot high, with a statue of the  Duke  of  Cumberland,  on  the  top  of  it,  in honour  of  his  Royal  Highness,  for  defeating and  vanquishing  the  rebels  at  Culleden-Muir"

Faulkner’s  Dublin  Journal  of  8  November 1746, as follows:
"The  Gentlemen  of  the  King’s  County  assembled at Parsonstown…and as they had before subscribed a large sum for a pillar and statue of his Royal Highness the Duke of Cumberland, they thought no day more proper to lay the first stone of the monument of their gratitude to this young hero, who defended their civil and religious liberties"




Looking rather unsteady c.1915. 

Sometime later!

The severed head of Cumberland now in Birr Castle.

The head, which is owned by the Hunt Museum, is currently on loan to the Earl of Rosse and housed in Birr Castle, while part of the arm is to be found the Birr public library. I will endeavour to obtain more photographs.
Much of the information here culled from the excellent and comprehensive Conservation report by Howley Hayes, Architects of Dublin, 2009-

Bust of Richard Parsons, First Earl of Rosse (1702 - 41). In St Patrick's Cathedral Dublin.


Duke of Cumberland
Michael Rysbrack
signed on the back MICH:RYSBRACK 1754
Height 62 cms
Musee des Beaux Arts

Bought from Spink of London 1936.

The Rysbrack busts were sold on behalf of Lord Hatherton, Stafford who was a Littleton and whose ancestor Sir Edward Littleton who had bought this and 7 other Rysbrack busts for Teddesly Hall, Stafford now demolished.

 The Rysbrack Busts from Hatherton at the National Maritime Museum

"three now being in the NMM - made by 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 essentially comprised four pairs: Raleigh and Bacon (SCU0005), Shakespeare and Pope, Cromwell (SCU0014) and Milton, 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. 

The Cromwell may date to as early as 1732, when Vertue saw one of him in Rysbrack's workshop. 

Previous Museum notes identify that of Pope as possbly 1735 and in the National Portrait Gallery; Milton as 1738, now at Stourhead (based on Rysbrack's Westminster Abbey monument and another bust done for William Benson); 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".

Read more at http://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/63984.html#M8TgEs94KaH42z5B.99

Text above lifted from the National Maritime Museum

see - http://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/63984.html


Teddesley Hall,

Teddesley Hall

Teddesley Hall

Teddesley Hall

Teddesley Hall

Teddesley Hall

Equestrian Statue of George II by John Nost III, Cork, Ireland

Equestrian Statue of George II.
Appears to be in Modern Armour.
John van Nost III.
Cork, Ireland.
In 1760 Cork Corporation agreed to build an equestrian statue in honour of George II . John Van Nost III was commissioned as the sculptor. He supervised the modelling and casting of the statue in a foundry in Kift's Lane?. On 7 July 1762 the statue was unveiled. It was situated in the centre of Tuckey's Bridge which connected Tuckey's Quay, now part of the Grand Parade, and George's Street which we now know as Oliver Plunkett Street. At that time, a channel of the Lee flowed through the centre of the present-day Grand Parade.
To most Cork people the statue was known as 'George a-horseback'. On the pedestal an inscription read: 'The citizens of Cork erected this statue to the memory of King George the Second in gratitude for the many blessings they enjoyed during his auspicious reign MDCCLXII.' 
After the statue was painted a golden-yellow colour in 1781 the statue became known as the Yellow Horse or, to Irish speakers, an Capall Buí. This is the origin of the Irish name of the street, Sráid an Chapaill Bhuí (the Street of the Yellow Horse).
In 1798 the statue was removed from the centre of the Grand Parade and placed at the junction of the South Mall and Grand Parade where it is shown in the photograph.
The physical condition of the statue deteriorated over the years to such an extent that it had to be supported by wooden crutches under the horse and under the right arm of George. On 3 March 1862 the figure of George was tumbled from his perch. Whoever it was that knocked down George's statue remained unknown, despite the offer of a £20 reward from Cork Corporation for information. Cork Corporation removed the entire structure and created a green space where the statue had stood. Local tradition claims that the last person known to have possession of the head of poor George was Mr Morton, a gunsmith in Cork in the late 19th century. The ignominious fate of the statue of George II calls to mind the old rhyme on the first four kings of England who were named George.
Vile George the First was reckoned
Viler still George the Second
No one ever said or heard
A good word about George the Third
When George the Fourth to Heaven ascended
God be praised, the Georges ended.
This information and photograph from -

George II.
With the Battle of Dettingen of 1743 in the War of Austrian Succession in the background.
After the original in the Royal Collection.
by the Swiss artist David Morrier (1705 - 1770).
Engraved by Simon Francois Ravenet
615 x 452 mm.
British Museum.
Morrier  was a painter, particularly of military subjects who was brought to England in 1743 by the Duke of Cumberland who appointed him "Limner" in 1751 with a salary of £100. Exh. Society of Artists1760-68. After the Duke's death in 1765, royal patronage declined and he died in poverty.
I have so far been unable to find any other photographs of this statue. This one appears to have been taken shortly before the collapse, - the left hand foreleg is missing and it just possible to distinguish a prop holding it up.
For Roque's Map of Cork of 1759 see -
For Roques Map of Cork of 1773 see