Monday 18 May 2015

28 Plaster Busts at Blickling Hall

        Another page about the plaster busts of John Cheere.

                 A List of 28 Plaster Busts by John Cheere
              formerly at Blickling Hall, Norfolk circa 1745 /7.

This list was very kindly supplied to me by Mike Southerill of the National Trust at Blickling Hall. I was first alerted to references to these busts by Emile de Bruijn of the National Trust in his blog which referred to Grisailles by Francis Hayman at Blickling. For his website see

I am very grateful to both Mike Southerill and Emile de Bruijn for their assistance.
These busts have all disappeared. Unfortunately there is no indication of size, but the list shows a comprehensive selection of 21 classical busts and 7 (relatively) contemporary busts. This list should be compared with those bust believed to be by Cheere at Blaire Castle, Arniston House and West Wycombe Park which have previously appeared in this blog and the Felbrigg busts below.  

Apollo              Plato                Pope                Vitruvius

Diana               Socrates          Shakespeare    Carracalla

Homer             Democritus     Milton             Venus

Seneca             Aristotle          Dryden            Niobe daughter

Horace            Hypocrates       Newton            Vestal Virgin

Cicero              Agothocles      Inigo Jones      Antinous

Virgil               Demosthenes  Palladio           Jupiter.

This information came from Mark Purcell and he obtained it from a document (COL/13/34/35) in the Blickling archive in the Norfolk Record Office. The spelling and wording is that of the original document. I do not yet have the date of this document.

Plus, there was a marble bust of Richard Ellys (in the middle of the marble fire place surround?), and one or two extra things (more busts or statues?) in the window bays:

 "a very beautifull Library 132 x 20 x 18. & a rich Cieling, a charming Chimneypiece design’d by Ld. Burlington.  Sr. Rich’d Ellis who left the Book’s his Busto is plac’d between the broken parts of a pediment which turn into 2 scrolls, & from the middle Point of each one to the other hangs a garland neatly executed in white marble quite detach’d only pendant at each end.  Over the Books are Heads of most famous Poets, Homer &c stand in a window".

 The bust of Ellys was by Scheemakers, but apparently was removed from Blickling in 1802 and sent to the Earl of Buckinghamshire’s townhouse in St. James’s Square.

          The Felbrigg Plaster busts attributed to John Cheere.
There are several busts at Felbrigg in Norfolk that can be ascribed to John Cheere.






I am including (below) a very low resolution image of the plaster bust of Alexander Pope which is a direct cast from the Roubiliac, Shipley Gallery / David Garrick marble bust of 1740, which is possibly another plaster version of Pope by John Cheere but could equally have come from the Roubiliac workshop.

All photographs above from the National Trust Collections website.

The Studeley Royal Plaster Library Busts

Group of busts in the library possibly supplied by John Cheere.

Inigo Jones
Alexander Pope

Studeley Royal, Yorkshire, country house destroyed by fire in 1946.

Image from Country Life Images.

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