Monday 31 August 2015

The Terracotta bust of Edward III from Queen Caroline's Library.

Terracotta Bust of Edward III.
One of the Seven Terracotta Busts by Michael Rysbrack,
Accidently Destroyed when a Shelf Collapsed
at Windsor Castle in 1906.
The original photographs were taken by Livingstone in 1874, for a royal inventory.

The busts had been moved to Windsor Castle in 1825 when Queen Caroline’s library at St James’s Palace was demolished. 

Terracotta bust of Edward III by Michael Rysbrack, circa 1737.
Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II, 2015.
It appears that Rysbrack based this portrait bust on painted portrait once in the collection of Dr Andrew Gifford (1700-1784) or the engraving by French engraver
Gaspard Duchange (see below).
From the following images it is clear that these images are all based on the funeral Monument of Edward III in Westminster Abbey.


Monument to Edward III Westminster Abbey.

Edward III, Electrotype by Elkington after a cast of the bronze monument in Westminster Abbey, taken by Brucianni.
Image - © National Portrait Gallery, London.

Portrait of Edward III.
Oil on Panel 479 x 368 mm.
 first recorded in the Royal Collection 1818.

Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II, 2015.
Edward III
572 x 440 mm.
Currently in the Queens Gallery, Palace of Holyrood House.
Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II, 2015.
Notes:  When the Hanovarians succeeded to the British throne in 1714 they did not inherit a comprehensive collection of portraits of English kings and queens of England. The only portraits of medieval monarchs then in the collection were six panels depicting Henry V, Henry VI, Edward IV and his queen, Elizabeth Woodville (RCIN 406785), Richard III and Elizabeth of York. Tudor monarchs were better represented but even here the legacy was disappointing. Queen Caroline, consort of George II, supplemented this meagre supply with a group of fifteen panels (of roughly the same dimensions), most if not all acquired from Charles Cornwallis, 1st Earl Cornwallis (1700–62), perhaps in 1721–2, when he was Groom of the Bedchamber. In this way she added some duplicates and some important new names – Henry IV, Henry VII and his mother Lady Margaret Beaufort (fig. vii.5), as well as the present two, of Edward III and Richard II. The Cornwallis purchase also included, from the Tudor period, Henry VIII and two of his wives, Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn, and Edward VI and Mary I. Queen Caroline hung the entire set in the Dressing Room of her private apartments at Kensington.

Queen Caroline probably wanted as many English kings as she could obtain, but she must have sought some more than others. Edward III was a model warrior king and the essential ancestor of any claimant to the throne during the Wars of the Roses. The reign of his son, Richard II, represented a moment of stillness before the anarchy of civil war. Queen Caroline may have seen a parallel between the Wars of the Roses and the ongoing dynastic struggle between the houses of Hanover and Stuart. 

This set, created long after their sitters’ deaths by a journeyman painter, are based on images in Westminster Abbey, among them the tomb of Edward III. The portrait shows the head and shoulders of the King, he wears a crown and an ermine robe.

Text adapted from The First Georgians: Art and Monarchy 1714-1760, London, 2014.
Provenance - Acquired by Queen Caroline from Lord Cornwallis.

Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II, 2015.
Another version of the Portrait of Edward III. Circa 1597 - 1618
From the Hornby Set of 16 Royal Portraits.
Originally in Hornby Castle, near Bedale seat of the 10th Duke of Leeds (1862 - 1927).
National Portrait Gallery since 1930
Currently at Montecute House.
© National Portrait Gallery, London.
For an excellent and in depth analysis of this and other portrays see -
Thesis submitted for the degree of DPhil at the University of Sussex 2015 by Catherine Daunt.
See also National Portrait Gallery -


Edward III.
Engraved by Renold Elstrack (1570 -1625)
19 x 111 mm.
British Museum
Anon. Engraving pub. 1677.
© National Portrait Gallery, London
Engraved by Robert White.
Title-page to Robert Brady, 'A continuation of the complete history of England'
(London, S. Lowndes and A. & J. Churchill, 1700).
275 x 167 mm.
British Museum.


Engraving of Edward III.
Anon after Edward Lutterell.
c. 1680 - 1720.
323 x 201 mm.
British Museum.
Engraving by Gaspard Duchange (1662 - 1757).
365 x 223 mm.
Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II, 2015.
Engraving by George Vertue
from Rapin de Thoyras
from a painting in Windsor Castle
British Museum.


An Early 18th century portrait of Edward III.

Perhaps by George Vertue or John Faber.

From the Collection of Baptist minister, numismatist and assistant librarian in the British Museum Dr Andrew Gifford (1700-1784);

by whom presented to British Museum on 2 November 1758; from whom purchased by the Ministry of Works in 1946

545 x 425 mm.


  Image from Government Art Collection.
Edward III.

Engraved by George Vertue.
 Plate from Paul de Rapin and Nicolas Tindal's History of England (1743-47). 

Edward III - Silver Medallion by Jean Dassier of 1731.
Bust of Edward III wearing a helmet decorated with a dragon, the device of Cadwallader.
41 mm. in diameter.
Image courtesy Ben Weiss.
I am very grateful to Ben Weiss for his communications and permission to use his photographs of the Dassier Medallions - I intend to write further on the Dassier Medallions in due course.



The Wooden Head of Edward III at the Tower Armouries.

  This would appear to be a good point to illustrate one of the eighteen 17th century wooden heads identified as Edward III, from the Tower Armoury. Two heads documented as Charles I and Charles II were from the workshop of Grinling Gibbons, the others were manufactured in the workshops of William Emmett, William Morgan, John Nost I, Thomas Quellin and Marmaduke Townson. A further head of William III by Nicholas Alcock was added to the group in 1702.


The head of Edward III: three paint finishes only. It seems not to have been sanded, showing a ground layer of lead white & chalk, followed by an original pale flesh finish of lead white tinted with vermilion. Repainting using red ochre for a darker pink was followed by its present orange-pink treatment.


These heads from ' the line of kings' sitting on horseback in full armour were William the Conqueror, Edward I, Edward III, Henry IV, Henry V, Henry VI, Edward IV, Edward V, Henry VII, Henry VIII, Edward VI and James I – twelve, in addition to Gibbons’ Charles I and II. This means that several heads other than those representing kings may have been produced, such as ‘John of Gaunt’ and possibly ‘Richard, Duke of York’

For the head of Edward III see The Royal Armouries website - 

also see - 



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