Monday 16 November 2015

The Rysbrack Statuettes of Rubens, van Dyck and du Quesnoy, Part 14, The Hagley Hall Marble Bust of Sir Anthony van Dyck.

The Marble bust of Sir Anthony van Dyck,
by Michael Rysbrack.

This post updated with the photograph from the Paul Mellon Archive 1 June 2023.

Life size - paired with the bust of Rubens.

Hagley Hall, Worcestershire.

Home of the 12th Viscount Cobham.
After the original Terracotta Model now at Althorp Park.

I am very grateful to Viscount Cobham for allowing me the opportunity to visit Hagley and to take these photographs. I would also like to thank to Joyce Purnell of Hagley Hall who showed me around and made my visit so enjoyable.








Bust of Sir Anthony van Dyck - life size.
1746 or earlier.

Michael Rysbrack unsigned and undated.
In 1746 George Vertue writes 'The three busts in marble he has done. of - Rubens. Quellin & van Dyke are highly finished and masterly done- are standing proofs of his great skill'
Webb suggests that Vertue meant du Quesnoy which given the sets of  terracotta plaster statuettes of the same subjects by Rysbrack, produced in 1743 which must be correct.
The Terracotta of Sir Anthony van Dyck by Michael Rysbrack.
Signed and dated 1743.

Almost certainly one of the original set of three terracotta busts.

The Busts of Rubens and Fiamingo were Lots 20th April 1765 in the Rysbrack sale -
copy in the Arts Library of the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam -

A Catalogue of the Genuine and Curious Collection of Mr. Michael Rysbrack
of.. Oxford Chapel, Statuary Consisting of a Variety of Heads and Busts from the
Best Antiquities; also Medallions, Vases and Urns in Marble. Several Models in
Terracotta of Busts and Basso Relievos, Modelled by Himself.. which will be
sold by auction, by Mr. Langford and Son, Saturday, the 20th of this instant April
The Terracotta of van Dyck is at Althorp, Northamptonshire, 
the Country House of Charles, Earl Spencer
Note the chain across the chest missing on the marble.
Library Photographs from the Courtauld Institute
I contacted the Estate Office several times earlier this year asking for photographs or failing that permission to visit Althorp and photograph the bust myself, but they insisted that I either pay them £240 to employ a photographer or they could (possibly) supply me with a (in their words) not very good quality photograph for £30. Both offers I was able to politely refuse.

I might just try them one more time.

Photograph of a terracotta bust supposedly of van Dyck.

From the Paul Mellon archives.

I suspect that this not van Dyck but du Quesnoy - it is unsigned and therefor an attribution is difficult.
Perhaps an early version by Rysbrack or a member of his workshop.
see -


All black and white photographs here were lifted from the article in the Burlington Magazine - 5 October 1963 written by FJB Watson in memory of Isabel Webb.


The bust acquired by the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto in 1954.

Sold lot 43 at the Rysbrack sale of 20th April 1765, the marble version (see below) was sold, lot 65 at the same sale. The unsigned marble is now in the de Ciccio Collection, in the Museo di Capodimonte, Naples where it was put on display in 1959. The terracotta of Rubens was sold in the same sale lot 44 - it came to light at a sale at Christie's lot 17 29 June 1961.

George Vertue in his notebooks had noted three busts in marble - he had done.- of - Rubens - Quellin & Vandyke - are highly finish. and masterly done - are standing proof of his great skill. The reference to Quellin being a mistake for du Quesnoy.

The de Ciccio marble bust of du Quesnoy by Michael Rysbrack (unsigned), 

Museo di Capodimonte. Naples.


Terracotta statuette of du Quesnoy in the Bristol Museum.

Photograph by the author.

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