Saturday 4 November 2017

The Bust of Sir Thomas Bodley in the Bodleian Library

Stone Bust of Sir Thomas Bodley (1545 - 1613).
Height 20"
 in a niche in the Bodleian Library
Sir Thomas Bodley founded and endowed the Bodleian Library.

This remarkable bust here attributed to Isaac James d. 1625.

Given to the University'for the perpetual memory' of the founder and'for his bounty to the public' by the Chancellor the Earl of Dorset who sent it 'carved to the life by an excellent hand at London' in 1605'.

Bodleian Library Interior from the West
Engraving from David Loggan's Oxonia Illustrata of 1675.

©Trustees of the British Museum.

Bodleian Library Interior from the East
From David Loggan's Oxonia Illustrata of 1675.
Note the bust of Charles I on the North side side of the arch.

©Trustees of the British Museum.

Bodleian Library Interior from the East
engraving from David Loggan's Oxonia Illustrata of 1675.

Not showing the bust of Thomas Bodley in a niche on the left facing the bronze bust by Le Sueur of King Charles I opposite. Given the fine detail of this engraving it would appear to show that the niche for Bodley had not yet been constructed with a frame constructed to loosely echo that of Charles I by 1675.

I am very grateful to Dr Martin Kauffman, Head of Early and Rare Collections, and Tolkien Curator of Medieval Manuscripts at the Bodleian for allowing me permission to use these photographs of this remarkable bust for the blog.

I am also very grateful to Dana Josephson for suggesting the project and for assisting me with the photography at the Bodleian Library.

All the photographs above taken by the author.

It was a very difficult job to obtain good photographs of this bust.
The light was very poor and I really don't like to use flash and I was balancing on a small set of step ladders.

for an article about a similar leather jerkin here worn by Bodley
see -

It is my opinion that this bust could not have been carved by Nicholas Stone.
Stone would have been aged about 19. A comparison with the bust on the monument to Bodley carved by the Stone workshop, put up in the Chapel at Christ Church College, which to my eye is fairly wooden, would suggest a more competent and perhaps more mature sculptor.
It shows the influence of the Amsterdam sculptor and architect Hendryk de Keyser (1565 - 1621).
de Keyser was in England in 1606 - Nicholas Stone a pupil of Isaac James went to Amsterdam with de Keyser married his daughter and returned to England in 1613.

see my post -

Below is a short list culled from The Biographical Dictionary of London Tomb Sculptors 1560 - 1660. by Adam White, Walpole Society Journal, 1999.

I have used this list extensively to flesh out the histories of these sculptors on this blog.

This list is not exhaustive but the number of candidates for the possible sculptor of the Bodley Bust who were working in London at the beginning of the 17th century is surprisingly small. I have not included Nicholas Stone
Presented here in alphabetical order -

Bartholomew Atye (fl 1600 - 1618).

John Colt fl. 1685 - d.1637.
Maximillian Colt (Coult). fl. 1602 - 27/8. 
 The Colt Family Workshop.

Cornelius Cure (d. 1608/9).
William Cure (d.1632).
The Cure family workshop.

Epiphanius Evesham (c. 1570 - c 1620's) not relevant to the Bodley Bust research because he worked in Paris from 1600 - 1615.

Isaac James ( fl. 1600 - 1624/5). My current favourite for the possible sculptor of the Bodley Bust.

Garret Johnson The Elder fl.1591 - 1611.
Garrat Johnson the Younger
Nicholas Johnson f. 1594 - 1624. (son of Garret Johnson The Elder).
The Johnson Family Workshop.

Gillis (Jellis or Giles) fl. 1576 - 1614.

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