Tuesday, 21 January 2014

 
 
 
The Portraits of  Louis Francois Roubiliac.
 
 
 
Portrait of Roubiliac by Adrien Carpentiers. circa 1761. NPG.
  

 
Francois Xavier Vispre - at Yale, Paul Mellon Centre.
 
 

 
Portrait of Roubiliac by Andreas Soldi. circa 1751, Dulwich Gallery.
 

 
 
 Portrait of Roubiliac by Adrien Carpentiers with the bust of David Garrick. circa 1761.
 
Garrick Club.
 
 
 
 
Print of the Adrien Carpentier portrait of Roubiliac 
by David Martin 1765.
 
Showing the terracotta model of the full length figure of Shakespeare made for the pavillion in the garden of the villa of David Garrick - the marble is now in the British Museum.
 
 
 
Miniature of Roubiliac by Bernard Lens. Location unknown.
Scan from Early Georgian Portraits. Kerslake, 1977.
 
 
 
 
 
Oil Portrait of Mrs Roubiliac - ne Nicole Celeste Reignier.
by Francois Xavier Vispre (1725 - 1794). V&A.
Third wife of Roubiliac, m. 1758 -59.
Height: 30 in estimate, Width: 25 in approx.
 
Vispre was a witness to the will of Roubiliac.
Vispre was living at 78 St Martins Lane in 1788 - 89.
 
 
Supposed bust of Roubiliac by Joseph Wilton.
 
66cms.
 
Purchased by the National Portrait Gallery from a Roubiliac family member in 1927.
 
 If it is Roubiliac then it is an idealised portrait.
The nose appears quite different but the ears are very similar.
 
 Is it perhaps a bust of Mr Carter the sculptor? A plaster bust of Mr Carter was sold on the 2nd day of the Roubiliac sale 13 May 1762.
 
 
Presented, 1927, by the National Art-Collection Fund;
 
Provenance from the James Thomson collection at Sotheby's, 18 July 1851, lot 162, as Voltaire, bought Colnaghi's, from whom purchased by the sitter's great-grandson Francis Roubiliac Conder; sold by the latter's great-nephew Dr A.F.R. Conder, [8] Sotheby's, 3 December 1926, bought Shilliter.
 
 
Notes from the National portrait website reproduced from Early Georgian Georgian Portraits by John Kerslake, HMSO
 
 
 
Once called Voltaire and then Folkes,  identification of NPG 2145, though not entirely conclusive, rests on comparison with portraits of known authenticity and the supposed family likeness noted by Dominic Colnaghi after he had acquired the bust. When the sculptor's granddaughter visited his premises soon after, she was apparently received with the words: 'There is no need to ask what you have come about, Madam; the likeness is so unmistakable.'  The bust was then sold, as announced in The Athenaeum of 3 January 1852, to Francis Roubiliac Conder, great-grandson of the sitter. When last at Sotheby's in 1926, it was still described as a self-portrait and remained, after acquisition by the NPG, so attributed until now.

"Silvery tongued dealers sales patter perhaps!" (David Bridgwater)

Although it is rare for a sculptor to take a bust of himself, Mrs Esdaile accepts the family tradition that Roubiliac executed a self-portrait which was exhibited anonymously and also sold anonymously. While there were several items in the sculptor's posthumous sale called, 'mask of Mr. Roubiliac's', none is specifically described as a self-portrait. On the other hand, a self-portrait in oils is mentioned by Nollekens in the second sale, 11 June 1762.  The care-worn features shown in NPG 2145, reminiscent of the oil by Soldi of 1751, accord well with the concept of a late date, and the dress, natural hair and unbuttoned shirt, with the portrayal of an artist.

A 'Marble Busto' by Roubiliac, exhibited at the Society of Artists in 1760 (86) and 'A Bust' exhibited in 1761 (153) previously associated by Mrs Esdaile with the self-portrait, have now been identified from contemporary sources as Dr Frewin and Lord Ligonier.

In 1761 Roubiliac also exhibited a bust of Wilton (154) and Wilton exhibited 'A Bust of Mr. Roubiliac' (167) and 'Ditto in marble of Oliver Cromwell' (168). Now that Joseph Wilton is better known, it could well be that NPG 2145 is a particularly good example of his work, perhaps the bust exhibited in 1761 or, since 'marble' is specified only for Cromwell, more probably a version of it. ‘Mr. Roubilliac by Mr. Wilton', lot 8 under 'BUSTS in Plaister', 2nd day of the Roubiliac sale, 13 May 1762, may well be the plaster exhibited the previous year. As the Wilton bust was owned by Roubiliac, it may have been mistaken for a self-portrait.
 
 
Plaster bust of Wilton with mallet by Roubiliac given to the Royal Academy in 1824 by Lady Frances Chambers, daughter of Joseph Wilton.
 
Lady Frances Chambers (1758-1839), wife of Sir Robert Chambers (1737-1803), Judge of Supreme Court, Calcutta 1774, Chief Justice 1791-99.
 
 

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