Sunday, 12 July 2020

The Royal Collection Marble Bust of Alexander Pope




The Royal Collection Marble Bust of Alexander Pope,
after Louis Francois Roubiliac.
Updated.



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).

















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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

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The Paul Mellon Centre Marble bust of Alexander Pope
Louis Francois Roubiliac 
1741

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.
















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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.









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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

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

Terracotta Bust probably not Allan Ramsay Sotheby's July 2020


A Small 18th Century Terracotta Bust 
probably not Allan Ramsay (1713 - 84).
Sotheby's Lot 140 July 2020.

Overall Height 11inches.








Photograph courtesy Sotheby's.

This competant little bust has been trying to escape from the trade for quite a few years.
When I first saw it it was very dirty and it has obviously recently had a thorough clean up.
At the time it was suggested to me that it was a bust of Allan Ramsay.

It is hard to reconcile the attribution given the known self portraits of Ramsay.


This attribution appears to be based on its resemblance to a drawing in the National Gallery of Scotland (see below).

The hollow head suggests to me a French or perhaps Italian sculptor  - Rysbrack terracotta heads are usually manufactured in the Netherlands fashion, the are modelled in the solid and so most frequently cracked during the firing process and had to be filled and painted - whereas Roubiliac modelled his heads hollow with an even depth to the clay - far less likely to be damaged in the firing.




Allan Ramsay

Self Portrait aged about 20

Note the cleft in the chin missing in the little terracotta.


They say

This self-portrait was probably drawn while Ramsay was a young student living in London. He was evidently proud of his appearance and his attractiveness; he has depicted himself with long locks of hair that flow to his shoulders. In a poem written by Ramsay, he referred to himself at around the age he is shown here as ‘Bold Allan ..., all dressed in frock of Blew and waistcoat of the Lining Green’ aspiring to ‘… take and bear away' the hearts of girls, 'who eer they were'.

National Galleries of Scotland
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There is a carved bust of Allan Ramsay of 1776/7 by the Irish sculptor Michael Foye (fl 1765 -77) with the National Portrait Gallery of Scotland - see -





Little is known about the Irish sculptor Michael Foye. He entered one of Dublin’s art schools - the Dublin Society School in 1765. In 1767 he exhibited two works at the Society of Artists and by 1770 he is known to be working in the studio of the sculptor, John Van Nost. Two years later he had travelled to Italy. It is believed he was the ‘Foy’ who sent a ‘bust of an artist’ from Rome to an exhibition of the Society of Artists.



Allan Ramsay 
Incised M: Foye/Sculpt/Rome/177 (the last figure gone), at one time in the Lockhart Thomson collection.
Purchased by the NPGS in 1905
Height 59.9cms.

Image courtesy Nation Portrait Gallery of Scotland.

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Allan Ramsay

National Portrait Gallery
1776

11 3/8 in. x 8 1/2 in. (289 mm x 216 mm).


Inscribed in ink on the back of the paper: A. Ramsay. drawn by himself in the Island of Ischia/August 1776.

This portrait
One of four drawings, the artist's last important work, [1] done in Ischia c.1776. The other three are portraits of his second wife inscribed Begun for Mrs Ramsay in the Island of Ischia but not like 1776, National Gallery of Scotland (293b); his daughter Amelia, and of a country girl, [2] both formerly in the collection of Sir Bruce Ingram, now respectively in the Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery and the Ashmolean Museum. Under ultra violet light it appears just possible that the last figure of the date in NPG 1660 has been changed from '5' to '6'. Ramsay is not known to have visited Ischia in 1775 and although on his way to Italy that year, he was still in Paris as late as 24 August. [3]

Footnotes
1) A. Smart, The Life and Art of Allan Ramsay, 1952, p 157.
2) Exhibited 'British Portraits', RA, 1956-57 (643).
3) A. Smart, The Life and Art of Allan Ramsay, 1952, p 156.

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Allan Ramsay 
Self Portrait
Pastel
1755 / 56
National Portrait Gallery of Scotland


The text below lifted from the NGS website

This vivid and characterful self-portrait is testimony to the technical skills and aesthetic sensitivity that made Allan Ramsay the first Scottish artist to rival the best of his contemporaries, not only in England but also in Continental Europe. The eldest son of the poet of the same name, Ramsay received his first artistic training at the Academy of St Luke in his native Edinburgh, where he enrolled as a founder member aged sixteen. Quickly recognised as possessing outstanding talent in his chosen field of portraiture, Ramsay was sent to London in 1732 to study at the fashionable studio of the Swedish-born portrait painter Hans Hysing. Although his stay with Hysing lasted little over a year, it was most probably there that he developed the basic skills required for the accurate delineation of physiognomy, drapery and gesture. The artist’s sights, however, were clearly set on more ambitious means of securing professional advancement than London could offer. By 1736, with financial support from his father and the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Ramsay was preparing to visit Italy. This was to be the first of four prolonged study trips to the Continent, which not only enabled Ramsay to make numerous influential contacts but also to develop, through close study of paintings by old master and contemporary artists, his increasingly distinctive and delicate style of portraiture.

This work almost certainly dates from 1754–7, during the second of Ramsay’s Italian sojourns. Unusually, Ramsay travelled with his wife, Margaret Lindsay, and after his arrival in Rome in December 1754 he sought to escape from the pressures of the social and artistic life of Rome in order ‘to preserve the greater part of my time for painting, drawing and reading’ (A. Smart, The Life and Art of Allan Ramsay, London 1952, p. 82). It was almost certainly during this period of seclusion and self-directed study that Ramsay produced a group of six self-portrait studies. All relate to an oil portrait of about 1756 (private collection) in which he depicted himself sitting at his easel, paintbrush in hand, at work on the portrait of a woman, possibly his wife, his head turned towards the viewer as if interrupted in the middle of his labours. The present work is the most highly finished of the studies, and the only one coloured with pastel and watercolour. Nevertheless, the drawing clearly reflects its status as an intensely observed private study. Without the flattery or softness with which Ramsay increasingly imbued his commissioned portraits, it presents a notably frank and naturalistic rendering of the artist’s features. The handling of the medium is firm, in contrast to the delicate, almost tentative quality that Ramsay’s drawings often exhibit. The impression is of patient, almost workmanlike care, providing an exceptionally direct insight into the artist’s approach to his work.

This text was originally published in Facing the World: Self-portraits from Rembrandt to Ai Weiwei​, Edinburgh, 2016.


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Circa 1737-1739
24 in. x 18 1/4 in. (610 mm x 464 mm) oval

A good version of NPG 3311 with deep red drapery and a pink turnover, lent by Dr T. Loveday to the Ramsay exhibition of 1958 [1], was found, after cleaning, to be lettered A. Ramsay Pictor. 1749. Obviously inscribed rather than signed and dated, the portrait had been in Italy in the early 19th century. The quality is inferior to NPG 3311 and it lacks the pentimenti which suggest that the Gallery portrait is the prototype. The date 1749 seems late for the apparent age of the sitter. A copy, framed as a pendant to a portrait of his first wife, apparently painted at about the time of their marriage in 1739, is in the collection of W. R. Law. An oil copy in the Scottish NPG (189) was made by Alexander Nasmyth in 1781 but no date for the original is given. A drawing in the National Gallery of Scotland (D 2019), although possibly younger, shows a similar pose; it is perhaps a study for NPG 3311. [2]

Footnotes
1) Exhibited 'Allan Ramsay, 1713-84', Kenwood, 1958 (1); ‘Art Treasures of the West Country', Bristol, 1937 (74), lent by Dr Loveday. The Loveday family also owned Ramsay's portrait of John Ward (q.v.). Mrs Goodwin (?1689-1788), whose daughter married into the Loveday family, knew Ramsay quite well, as she mentions him in letters.
2) K. Andrews and J. R. Brotchie, Catalogue of Scottish Drawings, National Gallery of Scotland, 1960, p 171.

Physical description
Dark brown eyes and eyebrows, protruding lower lip, chin slightly cleft, pale complexion, bluish jowl, dark brown hair or wig; white neck-band and shirt ruffle, rich brown velvet drapery turned down over shoulder; greyish-brown background; lit from right

Conservation
Flaking in the hair laid; a pentiment along the edge of the chest and ruffle; surface cleaned and varnished, 1964.

Provenance
Bought, 1946, from Appleby Brothers and by them in Stirling 'a short time before'; believed to have been sold earlier that year from Dowell's in Edinburgh. [1]

1) Information from A. E. Haswell Miller, NPG archives.


This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Kerslake, Early Georgian Portraits, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1977, and is as published then. For the most up-to-date details on individual Collection works, we recommend reading the information provided in the Search the Collection results on this website in parallel with this text.

Friday, 19 June 2020

Alexander Pope not by Roubiliac, Higgins Art Gallery and Museum, Bedford.



A Marble Bust of Alexander Pope
at The Higgins Gallery, Bedford.


In my view this bust is an inferior quality copy of one of the ad vivum Mansfield / Milton / Fitzwilliam bust of Alexander Pope by Roubiliac or of a later copy by Nollekens.

The inscription on the back of the shoulder is not of a form used by Roubiliac and has probably been added later. The quality of the carving of the hair is very poor in comparison with the Roubiliac and Nollekens busts.

Several busts after Roubiliac or Rysbrack including the 4 busts of Oliver Cromwell see -

http://english18thcenturyportraitsculpture.blogspot.com/2019/06/the-busts-of-oliver-cromwell-part-22.html

and busts of Francis Bacon, John Locke and Milton all appear to have come from the same 19th century workshop. It is possible that they are all early works by Hodges Baily see -

http://bathartandarchitecture.blogspot.com/2018/02/bust-of-francis-bacon-magdalen-college.html















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The Nollekens Bust of Alexander Pope
Metropolitan Museum, New York.











Dimensions:Overall (confirmed): 21 1/2 × 12 × 9 × 7 5/8 in. (54.6 × 30.5 × 22.9 × 19.4 cm)

Paired with a bust of Lawrence Sterne

Lord Leslie Hore-Belisha , Stafford Place, London (in 1937) ; his bequest to Hilda Sloane , London (until 1965; sale, Sotheby's, London, June 18, 1965, no . 81; sold to Lee); [ Ronald A. Lee , London (in 1965; sold to Humphris) ] ; [ Cyril Humphris , London (after 1965; sold to Sonnenberg) ] ; Benjamin Sonnenberg , New York (until 1979; sale, Sotheby Parke Bernet, New York, June 6, 1979, no. 392; sold to MMA)]



Another pair of these Nollekens busts of Pope and Sterne were sold by Mealleys Auctioneers in Ireland. Lot 487. 28 March. 2000

This pair of busts were resold at Sotheby's London in Autumn, 2000.




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The Milton Fizwilliam bust of Alexander Pope 
by Roubiliac
Signed and dated 1740.

Formerly in the Collection of William Murray, Lord Mansfield at Kenwood House



Marble, 14 ins.Eyes cut, Undraped , Square veined, black marble socle, Earl Fitzwilliam Collection, Milton, Peterborough.

Inscribed on the back. A. Pope Ae is 52, L.F.Roubiliac, Sc it, ad vivum 1740.

Now confirmed as the bust of Pope originally at Kenwood, belonging to Lord Mansfield.


Inscribed on front edge - Uni Aequus Virtuti Atque ejus Amicus.








































The Milton bust of Alexander Pope 

formerly in the Collection of Lord Mansfield at Kenwood House.

Now at Milton House near Peterborough

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Alexander Pope 
Bust
Bronze.


With an old circular inventory label to the rear numbered in ink C651 and mounted on a dark red veined marble socle.


46.5cm., 18¼in.








These photographs above from Sothebys website


















The photographs above kindly supplied by the Sculpture department Sotheby's, London.


This bronze version of this bust was sold at Sotheby's 6 July 2007, Lot 136. Sold £66,000.

Current location unknown.



The catalogue states - Reputedly the Plowden -Wardlaw family at Castle Craigie, Ayrshire; by descent to Margaret Spurway, née Plowden - Wardlaw; by descent to the present owner.

The Sotheby's catalogue entry states


"This apparently unique bronze bust of Pope is of the same type as Roubiliac's signed marble version dating to 1740 at Milton Hall, Peterborough in the collection of the Earls of Fitzwilliam.  It conforms very closely not only in the undraped narrow truncation and incised pupils but also in the treatment of the hair, which replicates the same distinctive curls and loops resting over the ears and to the back of the head which is unique to this type amongst the numerous variations.

Only a few surviving bronzes are known by Roubiliac, who is principally remembered as a marble sculptor, which makes the present discovery of great interest. That he worked in bronze is attested to by a gilt-bronze high-relief of David Garrick, which is set on to an oval backplate to create a medallion portrait. The relief, now in the Garrick Club, is signed L.F.Roubiliac Sct. ad Vivum 1758 and belongs to a group of associated bronze medallions which includes a portrait of Pope. These medallions can probably be identified as the 'Three ditto of Mr. Handel, Sir Isaac Newton, and Mr. Pope' which appear as lot 93 under the heading 'BRONZES, etc' on the second day of Roubiliac's posthumous sale held on 13th May 1762. 

They were probably the same works re-sold in an early Christie's sale in 1766, when they were described as 'Sir Isaac Newton, Pope and Handel in bronze finely repaired [i.e. finished] by the late ingenious Mr. Roubiliac'. The suggestion here is that Roubiliac himself took part in the finishing of his bronzes.

The most relevant comparison to the present portrait of Pope can, however, be made with Roubiliac's bronze bust of Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield (1694-1773), of which three casts are known: in the V&A (A.17-1959), in Dublin Castle, and as sold in these rooms 16th December, 1998, lot 150.  Comparison with the version in the V&A reveals just how similar the present bust of Pope appears in both facture and finish. The patina of deep dark brown with a thick black laquer is almost identical and has aged in the same way. There is the same finely stippled texture to the hair and the cast itself is of comparably expert treatment, with an even thickness, if some minor pitting. 

Furthermore the V&A cast, which has been remounted, was formerly attached to its socle by an armature that connected at three points: to the back of the shoulders on each side, and centrally to the front lower chest. This format is analogous to the mounting technique employed on the present work, which has been expertly crafted to raise the bust just forward and above its socle while remaining invisible from the principle frontal and three-quarter veiwpoints. It may well prove that while most of Roubiliac's socles are of the square waisted type, that the present example is in fact also original.

I have written extensively on the bronze Roubiliac Chesterfield busts - see









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The Hughenden Manor Plaster bust of Alexander Pope after Roubiliac
Height 18inches - 457 mm.

National Trust



















Very poor low resolution photographs taken by the author under very difficult circumstances.

This appears to have been cast from the original Milton/Fitzwilliam marble.




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Miniature bust of Pope after Roubiliac
Victoria Art Gallery, Bath.