The Royal Collection Marble Bust of Alexander Pope,
after Louis Francois Roubiliac.
The Royal collection website has recently updated its photographs of this bust (see below) and these photographs suggest to me that this very competant bust is not by Roubiliac but most probably a later copy.
The cutting of the hair lacks the definition of Roubiliac's work - compare it with the Yale Centre bust below.
They say "Thought to have been acquired by King George IV, this bust of Alexander Pope was displayed in the Grand Corridor at Windsor Castle. The bust stood alongside other commemorative representations of great historic and contemporary English figures and it was displayed facing a bust of William Shakespeare".
I have written at some length about all the 18th century busts of Pope in my parallel blog.
see these and other posts.
Photograph of the Royal Collection Marble bust of Pope by John Wesley Livingston
The same bust from an original 5"x7" glass plate negative of 2 white marble busts: William, Duke of Devonshire by Nollekins (RCIN 35410), no.76; Alexander Pope (RCIN 45173), no.77. See Windsor Castle Inventory of Statuary and Busts (RCIN 1101202).
The Barber Institute Terracotta bust of Alexander Pope by Roubiliac
They say c 1738 - my feeling is that it is perhaps slightly later.
A terracotta version, which might be this one, is mentioned in the sale catalogue of the contents of Roubiliac's studio at his late dwelling house in St Martins Lane by Langfords, Lot 76, third day of sale, Friday 5 May 1762 but it is possible that this lot may have been a different and lost terracotta version of the earlier busts.
According to Kerslake ( Early Georgian Portraits, National Gallery, 1977) sold to surgeon and collector John Belchier 1706 - 85. (who was also portrayed by Roubiliac circa 1750.
H 62.1 x W 41 x D 22 cm;
Plinth: H 14.3 x W 20.8 x D 20.9 cm
The Paul Mellon Centre Marble bust of Alexander Pope
Louis Francois Roubiliac
By repute this bust was bought by Joseph Browne, of Shepton Mallet and sold before 1791; it then passed to James Bindley and was sold 1819, by Sotheby's, to Watson Taylor, and again sold in 1832 to Sir Robert Peel, sold again in 1900 in the Peel Heirlooms sale for 510 Guineas to Thos. Agnew and Son, acting on behalf of the Earl of Roseberry.
Sold Sothebys 1990, £930,000. Now at Yale Centre for the Study of British Art, New Haven Conn. U.S.A.
Overall: 24 3/4 x 17 x 9 inches (62.9 x 43.2 x 22.9 cm)
Although signed and dated ad vivum 1741, there is an inscription on the bottom of he bust in the same style, recording the death of Pope at Twickenham on 8th May 1744, suggesting that this bust was carved and completed posthumously but based on Popes sitting for the terra cotta in 1741.
Pope visited the studio of Roubiliac in July of 1741, and reported to Ralph Allen in Bath on the progress of busts for his library.
Inscribed, chiseled on front of socle: 'POPE'; on proper left under sitter's shoulder: 'ALEX. POPE. Nats. LONDINI, | die 8o. junii anno MDCLXXXVIII. | Obiit in vico Twickenham prope | Urbem, die 8o. maii MDCCXLIV";
Signed and dated by chisel under sitter's shoulder, proper right: "Anno Dom. | MDCCXLI. | L.F. Roubiliac | Scit. Ad vivum"
The other three signed and dated versions are at Temple Newsam House, Leeds (no provenance before the early 20th century; the Lord Mansfield version in the Fitzwilliam collection at Milton, Peterborough; and the David Garrick version at Shipley Art Gallery, Gateshead.
According to tradition, this bust was commissioned by Lord Bolingbroke, who was a very close acquaintance of Pope, although as far as can be ascertained there is so far no documented proof of his ownership. It would seem that Bollingbroke spent most of his time in France between 1739 and 1743.
Notes - There is another link, however between Lord Bolingbroke, Pope and Roubiliac:
10 February 1738/9. Roubiliac supplied plaster versions of busts of Pope and Bollingbroke to the Earl of Marchmont ( Victoria & Albert, National Arts Library, Ms 1578 - 1939. The Household Accounts of Hugh Campbell, 3rd Earl of Marchmont 1737- 1746. Press No. 1737-1746 National Arts Library).
Note - The Temple Newsam Marble bust is dated 1738 but the cutting of the hair is different to this bust - There are no plaster versions of the Temple Newsam bust that I am aware of.
There two other busts of Pope of unknown material possibly marble which have not been identified.
1. The Madame Boccage Bust of Alexander Pope. Busts of Pope, Dryden, Milton and Shakespeare were sent with 3 others to Paris in 1751 by Lord Chesterfield..
Mrs Esdaile makes a very good case that the four busts for Mme Boccage’s garden sent to France were Roubiliac marble busts. Mrs Thrale saw them in her drawing room in 1775
2. Lord Bruce bust of Alexander Pope. Charles, Lord Bruce,Viscount of Tottenham, d.1747. -Tottenham Park, Wiltshire. Inventory of 14 Nov.1744. (10 poets heads on painted and gilt brackets, one ditto Mr Pope).
Charles, Lord Bruce a friend of Pope, m. Lady Julianna Boyle, sister of Lord Burlington in 1720. Burlington provided plans for Tottenham Park between 1730-40 (drawings at Chatsworth).
The fact that the Pope bust is particularly noted is instructive. Although not stated as a Roubiliac marble bust, he is the most likely candidate for its authorship. A gilt bracket from Tottenham Park is in the V&A.
I know of no other versions by Rysbrack or Scheemakers in any material which might be this bust. Of course it could have been a plaster version by Roubiliac.
The British Museum Plaster Bust of Alexander Pope
Height: 62 centimetres
Width: 42 centimetres (max.)
Depth: 21.30 centimetres
Acquired from the posthumous sale of the contents of Roubiliac's studio at St Martins Lane.
Presented by Dr Matthew Maty, 1762, who purchased it at Roubiliac's sale, either lot 9, first day's sale, 12 May 1762, or lot 3 or lot 14, second day's sale, 13 May 1762, or lot 2, third day's sale, 14 May 1762.
William Kurtz Wimsatt
With the Milton bust, the British Museum Bust, the Temple Newsum Bust, the Yale bust, the BarberTerracotta and the Garrick Shipley Bust