Sunday 17 January 2016

A Bust of Shakespeare in the Royal Collection and it's variants and the Chandos Portraits.

A Marble bust of William Shakespeare.
attributed to John Cheere.
in the Royal Collection.
William Shakespeare.
White Marble Bust.
A fairly loose copy after the Peter Scheemakers bust in the Library at Trinity College, Dublin.
71.0 x 48.0 x 24.0 cm (whole object).
Attributed to John Cheere.
Royal Collection
The Royal Collection suggest an attribution to John Cheere (1709-1787), which seems reasonable, given the somewhat generalised features - but it lacks the subtleties of the busts of Roubiliac, Rysbrack and Scheemakers (see above), but seems to have been the most reproduced version - probably because of the plaster multiples emanating from the Cheere Workshop at Hyde Park Corner.
 Given that there is no provenance prior to 1806, it could well be a later copy. The inscription and socle is very similar to other busts in the Royal Collection such as Alexander Pope and Lord Ligonier by Roubiliac.
Another version of the Royal Collection Marble bust of Shakespeare
Height 52 cms including Socle.
Currently with London dealers Historical Portraits.
The Garrick Club Plaster Bust of Shakespeare.
 This bust is very close to marble of Shakespeare in the Royal Collection (above) attributed to John Cheere. Another version of the Trinity College Shakespeare by Roubiliac.
Almost certainly a cast either from a John Cheere plaster bust or Moulds from the Cheere Workshop.
 Library Photograph provided by Marcus Risdell, Curator at the Garrick Club.
Inscribed Shout on the back.
Height 64 cms, Socle 14.5 cms.
There is another version of this bust by Shout at Windsor Castle (Roscoe)..
 Presented to the Garrick Club sometime in the 1830's - it is not yet clear by whom. 
 For Robert Shout (1778 - 1827) and the Shout family of plaster statuary manufacturers see -
For a later version see the Sarti bust of Shakespeare at the Athenaeum Club, Pall Mall. (below).
Note particularly the base of the bust above the socle.
I am again very grateful to Marcus Risdell curator of the Garrick Club Collection for his help in providing images of the Garrick Club Portraits.
The Athenaeum Club Plaster bust of Shakespeare
Purchased from Pietro Sarti - 1830.
The detail of the socle of this bust would suggest that Sarti either copied this bust from the cast by Shout or used his moulds. Robert Shout  
The Committee of the Athenæum Club.
Bought of P. Sarti
£ s d
Jany 26th Figure of Diana Dressing
8. 8. 0
Ditto Venus Victorious
8. 8. 0
Feby 2 Moving repairing & painting to grecion archer
1. 4. 0 4
Bust of Sir Isac Newton
1. 10. 0
Ditto Shakespere
1. 10. 0
Ditto Milton
1. 10. 0
Ditto Lock
1. 10. 0
Ditto Dr Johnson
1. 1. 0
Ditto Dr Harvey
1. 10. 0
Ditto Lord Mansfield
1. 10. 0
Ditto Pope
1. 10. 0 [inserted]
Ditto Bacon
1. 10. 0
Moulding & casting Sir J. Reynolds
3. 3. 0
Adding drapery to ditto
1. 0. 0
Putting pedestal to the Bust of Burke
7. 0
Repairing & painting the Bust of Sir C Wren
12. 0
Painting the Names in the above Busts
19. 6
For taken down & putting twice the Apollo and altering four times the leaf
3. 10. 0
Bust of Garrick
1. 10. 0
All the Articles in this Bill
are correct. C Daly £42. 2. 6
Certified to be correct
Decimus Burton
24 April 1830
[Endorsed:] 1830
Casts Ordered for payment
Sarti Building Committee
26 April
Received 30 April of the Trustees of the Athenæum the sum of Forty two pounds two shillings and sixpence being the amount of my Bill for Casts supplied to the New Building to this time – £42. 2. 6
P. Sarti
The photographs and text above from -
The Chandos Portrait of Shakespeare.
 Associated with John Taylor
Oil on canvas, feigned oval, circa 1600-1610
126 mm x 85 mm. image size;
Given by Francis Egerton, 1st Earl of Ellesmere, to the NPG in 1856
© National Portrait Gallery, London.

There was a contemporary copy of this portrait once owned by the painter Kneller, in the possession of Lord Rockingham by 1759.
George Vertue, writing on the Chandos Portrait in 1719 records -
 'The picture of Shakespeare ('the only' crossed out) one original in Posesion/ of Mr Keyck of the Temple. he bought for forty guinnea/of Mr Baterton who bought it off Sr W. Davenant. to whom it was left by will of John Taylor. who had/it of was painted by one Taylor a player and painter contemp: with Shakes and his intimate friend. The name 'Richard Burbage' is crossed out in the margin. (later insertions in bold.
 Mr Betterton told Mr Keck several times that the / Picture of Shakespeare he had, was painted by one John Taylor / in his will he left it to Sir William Davenant.& at / the death of Sir Will Davenant - Mr Betterton bought / it & at his death Mr Keck bought it in whose / now is (1719 in the margin)'.

Despite this there is still some doubt - Betterton is known to have embroidered his relationship with Shakespeare for his own ends

For an fuller discussion on the subject of this portrait see -
Searching for Shakespeare, Tarnya Cooper, Yale University Press. 2006.
The Roubiliac copy of the Chandos Portrait of Shakespeare.
A Copy of the 'Chandos' Portrait of William Shakespeare.
Government Art Collection.
They say by Roubiliac c.1758.
61 x 52 cms.
Presented to the British Museum on 1st February 1760 by Dr Matthew Maty along with a bust of The Rev Dr Clarke (perhaps by Guelfi - disappeared).
Purchased from the British Museum in June 1946 for £1.
A very good version of the Chandos Portrait of Shakespeare.
Possibly mid 18th century
Oil on canvas
57.2 x 45.1 cm.
Provenance -The North family, the Earls of Guilford, and by descent.
This portrait is also currently with Philip Mould Ltd.
JT Smith in Nollekens and His Times 1828 II p.99 says that in the posthumous sale of Roubiliac there was a copy of the Chandos Portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds Reynolds, which was bought by John Flaxman I, the sculptor and caster of plaster figures John Flaxman RA's father, it afterwards belonged to Edward Malone who showed it to Reynolds 'who acknowledged that he had painted it for his friend Mr Roubiliac'
The portrait above is currently with Philip Mould Ltd.
 I felt it was worth lifting the entire text from his website -  written I suspect by Bendor Grosvenor.
 This important portrait is a faithful replica of the well known ‘Chandos’ portrait of Shakespeare [National Portrait Gallery, London], which is thought to be the only undisputed likeness of the playwright in oil. The present picture was probably painted in the latter half of the eighteenth century, and possibly about the time the original portrait came into the possession of the James Brydges, 3rd Duke of Chandos, who owned it from 1783 onwards.
 The validity of the Chandos portrait as showing Shakespeare relies mainly on its apparent early provenance. It has long been accepted as showing Shakespeare, and in the early eighteenth century was recorded by the art historian George Vertue as having belonged to the noted actor Thomas Betterton, and before that Sir William Davenant, who is widely thought to have been Shakespeare’s godson.
Unlike many copies of the Chandos picture, which are most often painted from engravings, this example must have been painted directly from the original portrait. As such, its fresh condition and vibrant colouring perhaps allows us to see what the original portrait may then have looked like, given that the Chandos picture is today so covered in discoloured varnish, over-paint and dirt.
The colouring of the present picture, with its vibrant whites of the collar and more animated modelling of areas such as the hair, gives an idea of how much brighter the Chandos picture must once have appeared. And perhaps more importantly, details of Shakespeare’s physiognomy, such as the outline of his nose, are seen here with greater precision.
 In the present picture, for example, the nose is presented as more prominent than it now appears in the original, since most of the dark glazes with which the artist first drew Shakespeare’s outlines have been much abraded. Similarly, comparison between the Chandos picture and the present picture, together with another even earlier replica [Private Collection] shows that the Shakespeare we see in the Chandos picture today has artificially long hair, for in the Guilford version it stops well short of his collar. Likewise, the Chandos Shakespeare today has a pointy beard, which is not evident in the Guilford example.
 We do not know who made such additions to the Chandos portrait, but we do know that in the mid-nineteenth century much was made of the fact that the Chandos Shakespeare seemed at odds with contemporary notions of Shakespeare’s image. One critic claimed that the picture showed a man ‘of decidedly Jewish physiognomy… with a coarse expression…’ It is likely, therefore, that additions such as the pointy beard and longer hair were added to the Chandos picture to make Shakespeare look more like the Bohemian playwright history has assumed him to be.
William Powell (1735 - 69)
Actor and protégée of Garrick
With his bust of Shakespeare and his portrait of Garrick in the background.
Engraved by Samuel Okey (fl. 1765 -80) after Robert Pyle (1761 - 66)
Circa 1765/70.
Royal Collection.

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