Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Chantry's Workshop Bronze Foundry

Sir Francis Chantrey.
His Workshop and Bronze Foundry.
with a Statue of William Pitt the Younger.
Eccleston Place, Pimlico, London.
Graphite Drawing by George Scharf (1788 - 1860).

George Scharf arrived in England in 1816.

This is probably the earliest true to life representation of  sculptors foundry in England

If I had an infinite amount of time on of the first things I would do is to create another blog alongside my other blogs, devoted to the drawings and paintings of George Scharfe.

Probably the finest artist to capture images of an old London that was rapidly disappearing, before the advent of photography, not the great architectural set pieces but a London occupied by real people going about their daily business.

Workshop and Foundry of Sir Francis Chantrey,

Showing Statues of William Pitt the Younger and George IV
and a piece mould on the trolley waiting to be dismantled.
George Scharf
Graphite Drawing
291 x 234 mm
British Museum.

I will post on bronze founding in England in the 17th and 18th Centuries in due course.

In the meantime I have touched on the subject here -



Sunday, 4 March 2018

Bust of Isaac Newton in the Bodleian Library

The Marble Bust of Isaac Newton.
in the Bodleian Library, Oxford.
Anonymous sculptor.

Formerly attributed to Joseph Wilton (1722 - 1803).

Height 50 cms.

Acquired by the Bodleian Library in 1762.
see Bodleian Day Book.

This bust is a conundrum.

It bears no relation to other sculptures of Newton or to any painted or engraved portraits.

Does it represent Isaac Newton?
Although competent it is not good enough for Wilton - who was the sculptor?

There is a superficial resemblance to other busts of Newton particularly in the square shape of the jaw - but there is another bust of Newton which has been attributed to Wilton by Malcolm Baker - currently in a private collection? see photograph below which bears no resemblance to this bust.
Garlick says that it was believed to be based on a portrait by Enoch Seeman I can find no evidence for this

This post is one of an on going series depicting the portrait sculpture at Oxford University.


Image result for Joseph Wilton bust

Bust of Isaac Newton.
attrib. to Joseph Wilton.
presumably the version sold by Christie's in 1991.
Current location unknown.

Joseph Wilton was born in London, but trained in the Netherlands, France and Italy from 1744 to 1755. 
He was appointed Statuary to His Majesty George III in 1761, and in 1768 became a founder member of the Royal Academy. However in the same year he inherited a large legacy from his father and neglected sculpture thereafter; he was bankrupted in 1793.


Mrs R. L. Poole, Catalogue of Portraits in the possession of the University, Colleges, City and County of Oxford, I, p 91, no.227. 

Catalogue of Portraits in the Bodleian Library by Mrs R. L. Poole: completely revised and expanded by K. Garlick, 2004, p 235.

M. Keynes, The Iconography of Sir Isaac Newton to 1800, 2005, A.32, p 90). Keynes mistakenly writes that it is signed and dated.

Described in the Bodleian Day Book 1762 as ‘said to be based on an original portrait by Enoch Seeman’. 

An unidentified ‘bust; a model’ by Wilton was exhibited Society of Artists, London, 1768, no.159, 

and another appeared in Wilton’s sale, Christie’s, 2 June 1779. 

This was possibly that bust sold Christie’s, 2 July 1991, lot 81, catalogued as Roubiliac, this was re attributed to Wilton by Malcolm Baker, see - M. Keynes, The Iconography of Sir Isaac Newton to 1800, 2005, A.33, p 90).

For a very interesting post on the composition bust of William Pitt, Lord Chatham by Wilton at Harvard University Museum  see - 



A couple of Busts by Joseph Wilton

Bust of Leake Okeover

Bust of Leake of  Okeover by Joseph Wilton - private Collection
image from Conway Library


Oliver Cromwell
Joseph Wilton
74.9 cms
Victoria and Albert Museum.

Sir Isaac Newton 
after Enoch Seeman 
engraved by James Macardel


Monday, 26 February 2018

Plaster bust of Queen Caroline at Queens College, Oxford

An Unpublished Plaster Bust of Queen Caroline (1683 - 1737).
Princess Wilhelmina Charlotte Carolina
of Brandenberg - Ansbach.
Wife of George II

at Queens College, Oxford.
Circa 1727.
Not signed or dated.

Here attributed to Michael Rysbrack (1693 - 1770).

Life size.
Possibly a unique survival.

I am very grateful to Dr Graeme Salmon, Curator of Pictures at Queen's College for welcoming me into the college and for all his assistance.

George Vertue in his notebooks entry in 1732 (Walpole Society Journal, Vol. 22,) wrote of a list of busts by Rysbrack which he had seen in the workshop.

Included in this list is a bust of Queen Caroline - given the evident (to my eye) similarities, particularly the facial features, I would say that the Queen's College bust is most probably the earlier bust by Rysbrack and therefore quite an exciting find.

We do not know if she sat for him at the time but George Vertue also mentions a bust of George II in the same list.

I seem to remember he took a life mask of the King in 1728 and so it is quite possible that he modelled the Queen at the same time.


When I started this blog I had no clear idea of where it would lead - my initial intention was to make sure that the research that I had done back in 2000/2 on the William Seward bust of Alexander Pope by Roubiliac was not lost. I was under the impression at the time, that several academics were in the process of writing on the subject of 18th century portrait sculpture - had I realised that it would take many years before these works saw the light of day I might have started this project a little earlier.

One of the joys of this project is that it has been a wonderful voyage of discovery, uncovering some wonderful pieces of  almost forgotten sculpture, tucked away in some fascinating out of the way places, waiting for someone to rediscover, photograph, and hopefully get them in front of a wider audience. 

There have been many highlights in this quest but visiting Queen's College, Oxford to see the plaster bust of Queen Caroline pictured here has certainly been one of them.

My current project for this blog - researching and photographing the portrait sculpture in the Colleges and Libraries of Oxford University - enlarging on the work previously carried out by Mrs Reginald (Rachel) Poole in Oxford and latterly Kenneth Garlick at the Bodleian Library - has been a fabulous journey.

I have received a great deal of encouragement and assistance from many people at the University.

I am very grateful to everyone who has helped me and particularly to Dana Josephson of the Bodleian Library for suggesting the project in the first place. 


Mrs Rachel Lane Poole states in her - Catalogue of Portraits in the Possession of University City and County of Oxford, that the bust was in the lower Library at Queen's (vol. II 1925) and suggested that it was a study for the statue by John Cheere in the cupola on the front of the Queens College building, but this does not tally with my photographs, and although there are some similarities in the fur lined mantle, it is quite different. 

For links to all three volumes see -


The Queen's College Plaster bust of Queen Caroline alongside the statue of her by John Cheere in the Cupola on the front of Queens College.

For more on the Cheere statue at Queens see my previous post



I have also previously posted on the busts of Queen Caroline

see - http://bathartandarchitecture.blogspot.co.uk/2017/10/marble-bust-of-queen-caroline-by.html

For my earlier post regarding the pair of Rysbrack busts of George II and Queen Caroline and the Rysbrack busts of Kings and Queens and their setting up in the Library at St James' Palace in 1739 see -



This bust has had a chequered history. It had been rescued from a builders skip perhaps sometime in 1965 - 68 when the library was being redecorated. Another very interesting 18th century plaster bust of a bearded man was saved at the same time. ( I will post on this bust shortly). It had been damaged and the new socle appears to be a replacement which is fairly amateurish and could do with replacing, although its basic form suits the bust. 

The black paint is also a fairly recent addition in order to obscure the restoration  this is very apparent on the back fortunately the bust itself appears unscathed - it was probably painted white or stone colour originally. Hopefully in the long term the black paint will be removed and a new socle made for it.

The back (above and below)showing clearly the marks of the tool used for shaping the terracotta.


The Signed Versions of the Rysbrack Busts of Queen Caroline.

A few notes -

George Vertue reports - In June 1735 - Queen Caroline 'made a visit to Mr Rysbrake to see his works and especially the equestrian statue of K.William in brass that is to be set up in Bristol' and goes on 'also the busts of Marble of Kings and Queens done lately by him to adorn some palace. upon her seeing K. James I face she turned about and said si il me semble a une boureau I wont have that done, she said, one may guess she forgot from whence her succession came and also, lyes or what had been ingrafted or told her about that king.

George Vertue - In 1738, he noted that ‘the KING … sat to [Rysbrack] at Kensington twice. to have his picture modelled in Clay. the likeness much approvd on – and with a good Air. – also a Moddel of the Queen vastly like. Tho’ not done from the life’. 

The resulting terracotta models, which are signed and dated 1738, can now be seen at Kensington Palace (RCIN 1411-1412). In 1739 Vertue recorded that ‘two Marble Bustos the one of his present Majesty from a Model done from the life by Mr Rysbrack – and another busto of the late Majesty Q. Caroline both were erected in the New Library at St. James, Green Park’. 

The busts probably stood in niches over the fireplaces at either end of the double-cube interior, while Rysbrack’s terracotta kings and queens rested on high brackets along the side walls.

In 1738 after the Queens death Vertue notes - 'Mr Rysbrack has finished as model of the Kings face in Wax, only at opportunities of seeing the king that is thought very like'.

 After the death of Queen Caroline George Vertue wrote ' as he has done more eminent and noble persons from the life his great merit has recommended him to the KING, who sat for him at Kensington twice, to have his picture modelled in clay. the likeness much approved on - and with a good air. also a Model of the Queen vastly like, tho not done from the life'.

In 1739 Vertue recorded that ‘two Marble Bustos the one of his present Majesty from a Model done from the life by Mr Rysbrack – and another busto of the late Majesty Q. Caroline, both were erected in the New Library at St. James, Green Park’

Queen Caroline
Michael Rysbrack.
Height 60 cms
Paired with a bust of George II.
Signed and dated 1739.
 Currently in the Presence Chamber, Kensington Palace.

It has been assumed that these terracottas were originally made as a modellos for the Marble busts commissioned by the Queen for the decoration of the new library at St James Palace, but there are subtle differences - particularly in the dress - the work on this terracotta is closer to the bust now in the Wallace Collection ( photograph below).

The Rysbrack terracotta of Queen Caroline in the Riksmusuem is closer to the marble in the Royal Collection

Bought by Queen Mary, consort of George V at the dispersal of Lord Hathertons sale of Rysbrack terracottas at Spinks in 1932. Hatherton was a descendant of Sir Edward Littleton who had bought them for Teddesley Hall.

Royal Collection.

Royal Collection
Low Resolution


Queen Caroline
Michael Rysbrack
Height 68.8 cms

First recorded in the collection at Hartford House in 1870.

Sotheby's in their sale catalogue for The Howard Hodgkin Sale of 2017 make the very valid point that the inscription on the bust of George II in that sale matches very closely the inscription on the base of the Wallace Collection marble of Queen Caroline. Suggesting that they were originally a pair.

For the Howard Hodgkin / Sotheby's Rysbrack marble bust of George II see my post -


Photographed by the author.

Wallace Collection.

Base of the Sotheby/ Howard Hodgkin bust of George II showing the inscription.


Queen Caroline
Michael Rysbrack
they say unfired clay
Signed and dated
Mich. Rysbrack 1738.
Height 66 cms.

The Royal Collection website states that this terracotta version of Queen Caroline’s bust belonged to her daughter Anne, Princess Royal, and was recorded at the Stadholder’s court in Leeuwarden in 1764.

The back of the Rijksmuseum Terracotta
The signature is just discernible in this photograph



Queen Caroline
71.5 cms tall
in the Royal Collection from 1739.

The Inscription just visible on the base of the bust (right hand side proper).
Michael Rysbrack

Royal Collection.



The Four Rysbrack busts of Queen Caroline.

Above left : The Royal Collection Marble 1739 - Right: The Wallace Collection Marble .
Below left:  The Rijksmuseum terracotta, 1738 - Right: The Royal Collection Terracotta 1738.

Note the subtle differences in the dress and hair.
 The Royal Collection Marble follows closely the Rijksmuseum terracotta whilst the Wallace Collection marble follows the Royal Collection terracotta.


Queen Caroline
Michael Dahl
Oil on Canvas
17 x 101.5 cms
Warwick Shire Hall.