Monday, 20 January 2014


Locating The Roubiliac Marble Busts of Alexander Pope in the Eighteenth Century.


There are ten marble busts of Pope extant that can be fairly safely ascribed to Roubiliac. None has a proven provenance that can be directly linked to the Roubiliac studio.
 
There were two marble busts of Pope sold on the fourth day of the disposal of Roubiliac's goods at his dwelling house in St Martins Laneby Langfords 15 May 1762. Lot 75 a marble bust and lot 76 described as a head of ditto. (only copy of the sale catalogue in the Finberg Collection British Museum and not annotated)
 
Two others busts of Pope possibly by Roubiliac are noted in the eighteenth century, but not yet certainly identified, they are the Madame Boccage bust of Pope in Paris 1751 and the Lord Bruce bust at Tottenham Park in 1744.


The following list is an attempt to identify and locate each of the busts after leaving the Roubiliac Studio.



1. The Bust now at Temple Newsam, Signed and dated 1738 - No history until 1927. Most likely to be one of three busts or heads at Popes Grotto, Twickenham. See notes on Pope grotto.

 
Photograph taken at Temple Newsam, 12 March 2001.
The Vandewall / Seward bust in the background.
 
 
2.The Milton /Fitzwilliam Bust signed and dated 1740 – a description of this bust noted with Lord Mansfield at Kenwood by 1783. There is no positive proof, but all evidence points to this being the Mansfield bust. See the 1783 portrait by Copley Singleton of Mansfield showing the bust of Pope with cut away back on a doorcase. N.P.G. It shares the inscription Uni aequus vertuti Atque Ejus Amicis with a bust of Mansfield by Rysbrack which is inscribed Uni Aquus Vertuti.

 
The Milton / Mansfield bust of Alexander Pope.


3. The Garrick / Shipley bust. Signed and dated 1741 - In the Collection of David Garrick. First noted in an inventory of 1777. Probably bought by Garrick from Roubiliac early 1740’s. Garrick sat to Roubiliac and ordered the Shakespeare now in B.M.

 
Garrick / Shipley Bust of Pope by Roubiliac
 
 
4. Yale / Rosebery Bust. Signed and dated 1744. History unknown until 1791 – by repute made for Bollingbroke. Joseph Browne of Shepton Mallet. In the possession of Bindley by 1791. (Malone). Most likely Lord Bruce’s bust of Pope from Tottenham Park in the 1744 inventory.
 
 
Photograph of the Yale and Vandewall / Seward busts together at Yale, 2004.
 



5. The V&A. Neave, Essex. Unsigned No History before 1947. Bought from Bert Crowther and donated to V&A. (Perhaps the Madame Boccage bust or one of the three described by Jenkins as an excellent bust of Pope, at Popes Grotto 1777).

 
The V7A Neave bust of Pope unsigned

6. The Windsor Castle. Not recorded before 1828 when it was moved from Carlton House to Windsor in 1828.

Note See - For The Kings Pleasure. Hugh Roberts. N.599. Jutsham III, Deliveries pp.179-87. Perhaps this bust entered the Royal Collection in the mid eighteenth century and was originally supplied to Queen Carolines Library. There is a design by William Kent in the Soane Museum Vol. 147 / 198 with this bust and seven others, circa 1735/6.
Note - Bull? Boyle, Spencer Pope, Virgil Shakespeare, Locke. Info from Stephen Astley, Soane Museum, October 2002.




7. The Saltwood Bust - No History. (Perhaps the Madame Boccage bust or excellent bust in Popes Grotto in 1777).


                                                 Saltwood Castle bust of Alexander Pope.
Photograph taken in the library at Saltwood in 2002.
 


8. The Poullet Bust, almost certainly one of the pair of busts at Wiltshire’s Assembly Rooms at Bath, 1741. Busts of Pope and Is of Isaac Newton. There are no records of other pairs of these busts.  Now back together with Lord Rothschild, London.

 



9. The Vandewall / Seward Bust. Roubiliac Sale, probably purchased by Hudson at the Roubiliac sale in May 1762, with William Seward by 1787.




10. The Roger Warner Bust of Alexander Pope.


It has no history before 1961. Probably Roubiliac Sale and purchased by Hudson at the Roubiliac sale and then to William Stanhope at Popes villa and grotto, and after his death to Welbore Ellis at Popes Grotto, Cross Deep, Twickenham until 1802.

 
 
If one accepts this hypothesis then this would almost account for all 10 busts once they had left the Roubiliac studio or at least place them in the mid 18th century.
 

Some notes on Popes Grotto at his Villa at Cross Deep Twickenham, Middlesex.



In 1777 there were three Marble busts at Popes Grotto in Welbore Ellis, Lord Mendip's garden at Cross Deep, Twickenham. See the following notes at the end of this page - Jenkins Journal 1777, and other refs from 1770’s and 1780’s. One is described as a bust, another as a marble bust of Pope, and the third as an excellent bust of Pope. Also noted in the grotto a marble bust of Lord Chesterfield also probably by Roubiliac.
William Stanhope brother of Lord Chesterfield bought Popes villa and adjoining properties in 1744. Stanhope died in 1772. The property was inherited by his son in law Welbore Ellis, later Baron Mendip who died in1802.
It was probably at this time that the statuary was removed.
House and land then inherited by Philip Stanhope, Lord Chesterfield and sold.
The land was cleared and the house demolished by Baroness Howe 1807.

The three busts at Popes Grotto in the 1770’s can be deduced as the Warner Bust, perhaps bought by Hudson at the posthumous Roubiliac sale, The Temple Newsam Bust, and either the Saltwood bust or the V&A bust bought from the Roubiliac studio along with the bust of Lord Chesterfield
 


Further research is needed into the Stanhope / Welbore Ellis connection. There was also a bust of Lord Chesterfield at Popes grotto noted by Jenkins, perhaps again by Roubiliac. Stanhope as brother to Lord Chesterfield, who sat to Roubiliac would obviously have been acquainted with Roubiliac and the St Martins Lane Academy fraternity. The Lord Bruce connection might also be worth following up.
Some notes on the busts of Pope at his Villa Grotto at Twickenham:

Information from Journal of Garden History Vol. 26, No.1. Alexander Popes Grotto in Twickenham.
By Anthony Beckles Willson.

1775. In the journal of exiled American loyalist Samuel Curwen of Salem, Massachusetts, entry for 25 August 1775: At Welbore Ellis’s seat late Mr Popes we alighted and..... entered the gardens and grotto; the latter being arches under the middle of the house, about mans height, admitting a prospect into the largest shady contemplative walk in the garden from the river. It is almost 5 foot in width, faced with small flint stones, crystal and some other kinds stuck into mortar, with the angles out...... 2 or 3 niches filled with the busts of Pope and I forget who else...... Wimsatt Supplement 57-61.13.

See - The Journal of Samuel Curwen, Loyalist. ed. Andrew Oliver 2 vols. Cambridge Mass. Harvard University Press 1972.

The World (12 October 1789) ‘ the grotto has little to boast, beyond the purpose of a passage that avoids cross accidents & joins two gardens, which the road otherwise had put asunder. Popes decorations of the grotto are a little bust of himself & a pretty mirror - you see his mind too, in the inscription over it.

The Topographer, 1789 - reprinted in S.Felton. Gleanings on Gardens 1897. An abbreviated version of the full description is in the seventh, 1794 edition, of a Guide called The Ambulator. Both publications mention statues of Ceres and Bacchus and a bust of Pope in the Grotto. There was also a white marble bust of Pope over the entrance to Stanhopes Grotto.
The Journal of James Jenkins. 1777. Friends Library.
I discovered in 2002 an unremarked, and intriguing reference to three busts of Pope at the villa of Alexander Pope at Cross Deep, in Records and Recollections of James Jenkins. written in 1777 page 110 &111, which was found in the Library of the Society of Friends at Euston Road, London

Next morning with uncommon pleasure, and anxious curiosity, I bent my way to the muses seat at Twickenham having been for many years an admirer of the writings of Pope I viewed with downright enthusiasm the last place of his abode, on the banks of his native Thames, Popes house at this time was inhabited by Wellbore Ellis Esq. Afterwards Lord Mendip ( note.-Wellbore Ellis, Lord Mendip, 1713 - 1802, was a useful member of many ministries, holding numerous offices including privy councillor, Secretary of War, Treasurer of the Navy and Secretary of State for America.) I saw but little of it -- the gardens and shrubbery I viewed leisurely -- they are much larger than in Popes time - Sir William Stanhope ( note - d.1772 brother to the Earl of Chesterfield) having purchased the whole premises added two wings to the house, and made considerable alterations in the garden at the termination of the old and commencement of what has been added, was a vaulted passage of thirty feet long, and seven feet high, and on the front wall is a marble bust of Pope, with the following lines written by Lord Nugent, ... (who served as Lord of the treasury and President of the Board of Trade).
The humble roof, the garden’s scanty line,
Ill suits the genius of a bard devine;
But, fancy now displays a fairer scope,
And Stanhope’s plans, unfold the Soul of Pope.
In the passage on the right hand was a bust of Sir William, another of Pope, and a third of the then late Earl of Chesterfield, the celebrated Phillip Dormer Stanhope (1694 - 1773). (noted as being marble in the Topographer in 1789. Which also notes a bust of the daughter of William Stanhope.) I next viewed the far famed Grotto, and cannot describe the feelings with which I was affected, upon the recollection of the following lines,
Thou who shalt stop where Thames translucent wave
Shines a broad mirror thro, the shaddowy cave
Where lin’ring drops from mineral roofs distill,
And pointed crystals break the sparkling rill
Unpolished gems no ray or pride bestow
And latent metals innocently glow;
Approach . Great nature studiously behold!
And eye the mine without a wish for gold
Approach: but awful! Lo! Th’ Aegerian grot
Where nobely pensive St John sate, and thought
Where British sighs from dying Wyndam stole,
And bright flame was shot thro’ Marchmonts soul.

The last two lines I purposely omit quoting -- if I dare I would call them poetical nonsense -- every man “dares” to love his country, but no man “dares to be poor”. I suppose this grotto is now no more, great dilapidations had then been made; many pieces of spars, gems ores and other minerals and even the common flint pebbles had been picked out and carried away, and thus it is as Shenstone sings,

The pilgrims that journey all day
To visit some far distant shrine
If he bears but a relique away
Is happy, nor heard to repine"

In two adjoining apertures of the rock; were placed a Ceres, a Bacchus, an excellent bust of Pope, and some others.....”

From the Ambulator or The Strangers Companion in a Tor Round.... 1794.

 
Scans taken from the Ambulator. 1794.
 

 


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