Thursday 3 March 2016

Colley Cibber bust in the NPG London and his realtionship with Alexander Pope

 Continuing the recent Theatrical theme:
Colley Cibber  (1671 - 1757).
'The King of the Dunces' (Alexander Pope).
Variously attributed to Henry Cheere, Roubiliac and the latest suggestion of Benjamin Rackstrow of the Strand on rather flimsy evidence (none at all as far as I can see).
Personally I lean towards Roubiliac.
Painted Plaster, the turban removes.
673 mm tall.

Formerly in the collection of Horace Walpole at Strawberry Hill.

Extract from the Strawberry Hill Auction Catalogue 13 May 1842.
Sold to Buckley Bolton Esq.
Most likely Dr George Buckley Bolton surgeon of 9 Pall Mall (d. July 1847).
The Gentleman's Magazine in 1842 reports - lot 106 on the 17th day of the Strawberry Hill sale;
'A bust of Colley Cibber poet laureate when old in a cap, coloured from life ...... £2 5s, Russell,
Cibber gave it to Mrs (Kitty) Clive the actress and her brother Mr Radnor presented it after her death to Walpole'

Purchased 1896
© National Portrait Gallery, London
Colley Cibber perhaps from the workshop of Sir Henry Cheere, 1st Bt painted plaster bust, circa 1740:

Colley Cibber aged 67
Engraved by Gerard van der Gucht (c.1696 - 1776).
After the oil painting by Jean Baptiste van Loo (1684 - 1745).


For the full text see -

 Engraving by IS Miller
after the portrait by van Loo
Image Courtesy Lewis Walpole Library.
Colley Cibber, by Edward Fisher, printed for  John Spilsbury, after  Jean Baptiste van Loo, 1758 (1740) - NPG D2075 - © National Portrait Gallery, London
A print by William Hogarth entitled A Just View of the British Stage from 1724 depicting the managers of Drury Lane, (Robert Wilks, Colley Cibber, and Barton Booth) rehearsing a play consisting of nothing but special effects, while they used the scripts for The Way of the World, inter al., for toilet paper.
Description to follow.   Etching and engraving
Frontispiece from the Glasgow Edition of A Letter from Mr Cibber to Mr Pope.
A satire on Alexander Pope and his physical limitations.
Engraving 129 x 80 mm.
British Museum
Description to follow.  31 July 1742  Etching and engraving

Another engraving on a similar theme.

213 x 245 mm.

British Museum.
Description to follow.  31 July 1742  Etching and engraving
Attrib to George Bickham the younger.
    • An Essay on Woman, by the Author of the Essay on Man: Being
    • Homer Preserv'd, or the Twickenham Squire Caught by the Heels.
    • Satire on Alexander Pope and his physical limitations. A well furnished room into which, on the left, the Earl of Warwick enters remonstrating with Colley Cibber who has grasped the diminutive figure of Pope by the ankle, pulling him off a well-dressed but dishevelled prostitute whose naked thighs are revealed as she reclinines on an upholstered sofa. Cibber claims to have sav'd Homer, a reference to Pope's translation but also a double-entendre. On the floor lie Pope's wig and Cibber's play "The Nonjuror". On the wall are three pictures, one referring to a small officer attempting to beat an unperturbed grenadier, a scene from Pope's play, "Three Hours after Marriage" showing two men disguised as a mummy and a crocodile
    • 192 x 275 mm.
Text and Illustration British Museum
Alexander Pope.
Engraving 1733.
Frontispiece to Ingratitude: to Mr. Pope. Occasion'd by a Manuscript Handed About, under the Title of, Mr. Taste's Tour from the Land of Politeness, to that of Dulness and Scandal, &c. &c. (London: printed and sold by J. Dormer, 1733). A nobleman holds a struggling Alexander Pope at the hips while another urinates on his backside; a third stands to the left, laughing, while a fourth on the right observes. Pope cries out "Damn me if I don't put you all in the Dunciad!"
Image from the Huntington Library.
Image and description from -


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Why have my illustrations been removed???