Friday 17 January 2014

The Saltwood Castle bust of Alexander Pope by Roubiliac

10.                Saltwood Castle Bust of Alexander Pope
                           by Louis Francois Roubiliac.

Marble , Unsigned, Eyes Cut. Based on the Barber Institute terra cotta. Formerly in the collection Kenneth Clarke. Saltwood Castle, Hythe, Kent. Still at Saltwood April 2001. See Wimsatt.61.7, Page 254.

I have photographed this bust myself at Saltwood 12 June 2000. These are unfortunately only poor quality scans.
This is a very fine version of the Barber Terra cotta but on a turned socle. From the quality I would have no hesitation in ascribing it to Roubiliac.

I am very grateful to Jane Clark for allowing me the opportunity to visit Saltwood and inspect and photograph this bust.

This bust is possibly one of the two bust in unknown materials possibly marble and not yet formally identified which are mentioned in the mid 18th Century.

1. The Madame Boccage Bust of Alexander Pope. Busts of Pope, Dryden, Milton and Shakespeare sent with 3 others to Madame Boccage in Paris in 1751 by Lord Chesterfield.

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 1775 when they were in the drawing room.

2. The Lord Bruce bust of Lord Bruce. 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. Lord Burlington provided plans for Tottenham Park between 1730-40. (drawings at Chatsworth).

The fact that the Pope bust is noted exclusively is instructive. Although not stated as a Roubiliac marble bust, he is the most likely candidate for its authorship.

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.

Lord Bruce’s Papers in the Aylesbury Collection at Wiltshire Record Office.

Pair of Painted and Gilded Brackets

  Height: 60.96 cm, Width: 35.56 cm, Depth: 26.67 cm
One of a pair of painted and gilded, carved wooden brackets supplied to Tottenham Park, Wiltshire prior to November 1744

Victoria and Albert Museum


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