Thursday 8 February 2018

Some Plaster Busts of John Locke by and after John Cheere

Some Plaster Busts of John Locke 
by and after John Cheere.

This post is part of a much wider study into the portrait sculpture at Oxford University, with particular reference here to the lead Cheere type bust of John Locke at The Bodleian Library and the marble bust after Roubiliac by Edward Hodges Baily at Magdalen College, Oxford.

I am very grateful to Dana Josephson for suggesting the project and for all his assistance.

I would also like to thank Dr Nicolas Bell of the Wren Library, Sir David Clary, Lady Heather Clary and Rachel Mehtar at Magdalen College Oxford and Stephen Hebron of the Weston Library for making thse posts possible.


 The Wren Library, Trinity College, Cambridge, Plaster bust of John Locke.

Probably by John Cheere.

Height approx 60 cms. without the socle.

This bust is one of  the set of 26 plaster busts supplied and now consisting of 12 ancient and 11 modern authors all placed on top of the bookcases in the Wren Library.

I will be posting in much more depth on this set of busts almost certainly by John Cheere in due course.

Gifted to the Library by Dr Francis Hooper.

The Wren Library plasters were probably supplied by John Cheere some time after 1753 - they are noted in a guide of 1763. Unfortunately there is no record of their purchase

There are also two painted wooden busts of Anacreon and Ben Jonson on top of the bookcases at the Wren Library, these are possibly from an earlier scheme and attributed to Grinling Gibbons; and two later plaster busts one of  Dr Francis Hooper, by an unknown sculptor and the other of Professor Richard Porson by Giovanni Domenico Gianelli, dated 1808.

2. The Bodleian Lead bust and the Wren Library Plaster for comparison 
see my previous post.

All photographs by the author with grateful thanks to Dr Nicolas Bell of the Wren Library


John Locke
Cheere type.
Plaster bust.
About half life size.
West Wycombe Park.

Although not visible in these photographs the socles of all these busts have a raised panel on the front.

One of a set of four busts of Milton, Pope, Newton, and Socrates.

I will post more details and photographs of these busts in the future.
Photographed by the author.

With many thanks to Sir Edward Dashwood for allowing me access and to photograph the sculpture at West Wycombe Park.


A Smaller version of the Cheere type bust of John Locke.

Plaster bust of John Locke
Cheere type
overall height 53.3 cms

Attributed by the Museum to John Cheere.
Yale Centre for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection.

This type of plaster busts is very difficult to date without a firm provenance.
This could easily be one made by an Italian immigrant plaster caster from the Leather Lane area
in the mid 19th century London. In this case I think the panelled socle and open back are consistent with 18th century manufacture. It would benefit from having thee thick over painting removed.

A bust of Locke by Richard Parker c.1770 was at Ashburnham Place, among a set of library busts based on works by Roubiliac and Rysbrack. 

This information from - needs to be verified.


Charles Harris of the Strand Catalogue of 1777.
showing a bust of Locke - 24 inches (Pouces)

For a complete copy of the catalogue see my post -


Shout of Holborn Catalogue of c. 1801 - 24 showing that they supplied busts of Locke in at least two sizes.


John Locke
Probably 19th Century.
The Vyne Hampshire 
National Trust

From their website no size given

Images - The Vyne © National Trust / Mark Scott.


John Locke
Plaster Bust

Victoria and Albert Museum

Another of the smaller Cheere type busts


John Locke
Plaster Bust
Cheere Type with embroidered waistcoat.
Life Size.
supplied in 1830 at a cost of £1. 10s.
Inscribed Sarti
Athenaeum Club, London.

For much more on the series of  Busts by Sarti at Athenaeum Club in a piece by John Kenworthy Brown see -


John Locke
Plaster Bust
Wimpole Hall, Cambridge
Inscribed Sarti
c 1830


John Locke
Bronzed Plaster
Life Size

One of a set of four - Locke and Milton as the Wren Library Plasters, Newton after Rysbrack, Dryden after Scheemakers .

John Kenworthy Brown says that these busts are first Listed on an inventory of 1782.

Kenworthy Brown has done a very thorough job of researching the Plaster busts by Pietro Sarti at the Athenaeum Club see -


Hopefully the reference in the inventory of 1782 has not confused these busts with the smaller busts of Milton, Pope, Newton and Socrates also at West Wycombe (see above).

This reference needs to be confirmed - the socle with the eared support seen here (which is based on a classical precedent, much used by Cavaceppi and later by Joseph Nollekens, appears on the later plaster busts by Shout of Holburn and Sarti (the Atheneum Busts were supplied in 1830).

It would be useful to know when this form of socle and base started to become current in English busts and might be useful for dating plaster busts without provenance.

Notable on this bust is the missing embroidery on the waistcoat.

Awful photograph taken by the author in almost complete darkness!


The Studely Royal Plaster busts with a bust of Locke over the doorcase.

Currently no direct evidence but this series has Cheere type busts with the early panelled square based socles

Inigo Jones
Unidentified possibly a version of Fletcher or Ben Jonson.
Alexander Pope

Studeley Royal, Yorkshire, country house destroyed by fire in 1946.

Image from Country Life Images.


John Locke
Plaster bust
Inscribed Shout of Holburn

at Sudbury Hall, Derbyshire.

Sudbury Hall © National Trust / Ian Buxton & Brian Birch

For more on the Scheemaker busts of Locke see my later post.

The Wedgwood Busts of Locke
Just to confuse there are two distinct types

John Locke 
Cheere type
Wedgwood Black Basalt.
Mid 19th Century.

Wedgwood and Bentley List of Busts 1777.
including the bust of Locke.


John Locke
Wedgwood and Bentley
Black Basalt
Height 242 mm.

Incised mark Locke, Wedgwood and Bentley

Information and photograph from - The Wedgwood Museum.
see -


The Source for this bust appears to be an unsigned ivory attributed to David Le Marchand in the Thompson Collection in the Art Gallery of Ontario.(below).

John Locke attributed to David le Marchand.
Height 18.5 cms.

Image from -

 For an in depth study of le Marchand see - Charles Avery - David le Marchand, 1674-1726: 'an ingenious man for carving in ivory', pub. Lund Humphries, London, 1996.

The  Ivory bust of John Locke by Le Marchand,
215 mm.

This photograph was taken when the bust was lent to the Victoria and Albert Museum for study in 1936.

The pair to Rapers bust of Newton by le Marchand.

Provenance: The Raper family, Alfred Morrison, Mrs Michael Wright, 3 Barton St London, SW1. (1936).

Now paired with the bust of Isaac Newton.
20 cms
Purchased from Alfred Speelman in 1953
Collection of Lord Thompson of Fleet.
Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada.


John Locke
John Cheere type
57 cms

The nose has received some surgery

Sold at Lyon and Turnbull Auction.
Lot 196 ,  31st January, 2018.

Images kindly supplied by Lyon and Turnbull.


John Locke 
19th Century Plaster bust.
Inscribed on the back L. Bruciotti, Leather Lane, 1853.
Height 58.5 cms

Westenholz Antiques.

Bruciotti was one of several Italian manufacturers of plaster casts of variable quality who lived in the Leather Lane area of London in the mid 19th century.

Photograph from -


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