Sunday 17 January 2016

The British Museum and Garrick Club Terracotta Busts of Shakespeare by Roubiliac (part 2). The Garrick 'Davenant' Bust

The Garrick Club Terracotta Bust of Shakespeare.
The so called Davenant Bust,
by Louis Francois Roubiliac.

The Garrick Club 'Davenant' Terracotta Portrait bust of Shakespeare.

The Photographs very  kindly provided by Marcus Risdell of the Garrick Club.

Presented to the Garrick Club by the Duke of Devonshire in 1865.

The Socle is a replacement for a turned marble socle and was designed by Marcus Risdell of the Garrick Club.

It should be noted that the dress on the two Roubiliac terracottas of Shakespeare owned by the Garrick Club and the British Museum, apart from the collar is very close to the terracotta bust of John Ray by Roubiliac in the British Museum, which was purchased at the Roubiliac sale by Dr Matthew Matey - another example of  Roubiliac recycling his designs. He also uses the same basic bust for his portraits of Jonathan Tyers and Henry Streatfield.

 For more on the Roubiliac busts of  Ray, Tyers and Streatfield, see:-

The 'Davenent bust' - is so called after Sir William Davenant (1606 - 68) who was the proprietor of the Dukes Theatre in Portugal Street, Lincoln's Inn Fields 1660 until his death in 1668, (Portugal Street runs parallel with Portugal Row the South side of Lincolns Inn Fields).

Originally built as a real tennis court, The Dukes Theatre was used as a playhouse during two periods, 1661–1674 and 1695–1705. The size of a Real Tennis Court should be approximately 70ft x 30 ft.

During the early period of the theatre it was called Lincoln's Inn Fields Playhouse, also known as "The Duke's Playhouse", "The New Theatre" or "The Opera"  - it opened on 28 June 1661.

The building was demolished and replaced by a purpose-built theatre for a third period, 1714–1728.
 It was until very recently believed that at one time this Roubiliac bust had been made in the 17th Century - a story widely promoted is that the bust had originally been discovered by workmen, during the demolition along with a bust of Ben Jonson in a niche above the stage door where it had been bricked in after the Theatre had become a barracks in 1732.

The building later became an Auction room and was opened as The Salopian China Warehouse in 1783 for Thomas Turner's Caughly porcelain (who first produced 'Willow Pattern' china. From 1794 - 1847 it was the warehouse of Copeland and Spode. It was demolished in 1848 to make way for an extension to the Royal College of Surgeons.(see the following post).


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