Sunday, 16 October 2016

Marble Bust of an Unknown Man attributed to John van Nost III, Louvre, Paris, and the Marble Bust of George Pitt in the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Bust of an Unknown Man,
attributed to John van Nost III,
Louvre, Paris.
734 mm tall.
Formerly attributed to Louis-François de Roubiliac (1702 -1762),
as Sir Edward Walpole (1706-1784).

Acquired by the Louvre with an hypothetical attribution to Henry Cheere.
Attributed in 1992 by Malcom Baker to John Van Nost III and dated circa 1750.
I am doubtful and believe this bust needs to be reassessed.

Collection F. Leverton Harris; sale, London, Christie's, Manson and Woods, 7th June 1928, n°42
Acquired by Stettmer
Collection the dealer Camoin, Paris, 
Acquired by the Louvre 1989.
The Louvre website is not great for images of 3 dimensional objects.
This bust could be by one of several sculptors - it shows some distinct similarities with a bust of George Pitt by Henry Cheere in the Victoria and Albert Museum particularly the fluttering tie on the shirt.
It has for a log time been my suspicion that although Henry Cheere signed many sculptures, he might not have been the actual author of all of them - giving the work to men working in his workshop or subcontracting it. Given that we know very little of what Roubiliac did between his arrival in London in 1730 and his first mention as an independent sculptor (Senesino in a newspaper in 1735) it is quite possible that he was working for Henry Cheere amongst others and continued to do so.
He certainly worked with Scheemakers on the busts at Trinity College Dublin which I will be coming to shortly on this blog.
It might be that Mrs Esdaile was correct after all ascribing this bust to Roubiliac.
(Sir) Henry Cheere and his sculpture and sub contracting is a subject that I might approach in the future. Matthew Craske has already published on the subject in both The Silent Rhetoric of the Body pub Yale 2007 and inThe Lustrous Trade ed Cinza Sica
Photographs from the Louvre
Photograph of the above bust identified as Sir Edward Walpole
from Roubiliac by Mrs Esdaile, pub in 1929.
Marble bust of George Pitt (1663 - 1735).
of Stratfield Saye
by Henry Cheere (1703 - 81).

Height 74 cms.
Victoria and Albert Museum.

bought by the V and A for £25,000 in 1981.
It is peculiar that there is no mentionof the Stowe Catalogue entry on the V and A website

 I sincerely hope the socle will be replaced at some time in the near future with something more appropriate.
I am posting this for comparison with the Louvre bust.
The V and A say -
"This is a finer version of the portrait on the monument to George Pitt at Stinsford in Dorset, and was probably executed for Enscombe House where Pitt's widow and son lived. Between August 1738 and April 1741 Pitt's widow made three paymounts, amounting to £146.8.0, to Henry Cheere....."
"Historical significance: This is among the earliest of English Rococo busts, the decorative effect of the shirt front and the fluttering tie are particularly notable. A similar drapery style may be seen in Cheere's figure of Sir Thomas Hardy at Westminster Abbey (ca. 1740) and the bust of Sir Orlando Humphreys (died 1736) at Barking"
Another version of this bust is on the monument to George Pitt at Stinsford, Dorset, and the marble shown here was probably carved at the same date for the family's house. The bust was said to have been 'executed from a model made after his death from recollections by his son John Pitt', a distinguished amateur architect, and shows George Pitt in the informal dress that was being used frequently by this date for both painted and sculptural portraits.
The Illustration and Catalogue entry for the "Bust of Prior" From the Catalogue for the great Sale at Stowe of 1748.
Obviously this is not of Prior but of George Pitt described by the V and A as probably by Henry Cheere.

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