Wednesday 22 July 2020

Lead Bust of Alexander Pope at Marble Hill House

The Bust of Alexander Pope 
at Marble Hill House

Height 52.5 x Width 32.5 x Depth 26.5 cm.

Sold Christie's Dec. 1987, now at Marble Hill House.

These photographs were recently added to the Art UK website

They say - c 1770 - 1787 - Louis François Roubiliac (1695/1702–1762) (after) and John Cheere (1709–1787). A lazy description. Most mid 18th century lead busts are assumed to have been made by John Cheere who is recognised as the creator of some very fine lead statuary as well as plaster busts, but the quality of this and several other lead busts might suggest the hand of Roubiliac who certainly reproduced his own works in plaster.

Examples of these very rare lead busts include those of Dr Salmon and his wife and another anonymous bust at the V and A, a bust of Matthew Prior (when purchased believed to have been the painter Rigaud) now in the Louvre, and a very fine bust perhaps of the Italian castrato opera singer Farinelli (with the London trade in 2014) and a bust of the Duke of Atholl at Blair Castle

see -

and -

This is a lead version of the marble bust of Pope once owned by the actor David Garrick, signed and dated by Roubiliac,on the back - on the left  L.F.ROUBILIAC SC. AD VIVUM MDCCXLI and on the right A.POPE AETis LIII (see photographs below).

I have written at some length on all the known busts of Pope - my first blog entry on the subject of this version of the Pope busts was in -

I havn't personally inspected this bust and the quality of these photographs isn't of the highest resolution.


Alexander Pope
Height16.5 ins.

Eyes uncarved.

Shipley Art Gallery, Gateshead. Tyne and Wear.

The photographs below taken at Waddesden Manor when I was given a private view of the exhibition entitled - Fame and Friendship: Pope, Roubiliac and the Portrait Bust.

Again I was hampered by the lighting conditions.

see -

This bust appears to be the first version of the third Type of Roubiliac bust of Pope, and perhaps predates the terra cotta at the Barber Institute, Birmingham University (see next entry).

The pronounced curl or forlock on top of his head is missing from all other marble versions.

Wimsatt (Yale notes two other versions in plaster, one with bookdealer Kulgin Duval in Falkland, Fife, Scotland in 1964, the other at Felbrigg Hall, Norwich, Norfolk.


The Felbrigg Plaster Bust of Alexander Pope

Photographs taken by the author under extremely poor lighting conditions.


The Kugin Duval Plaster Bust of Alexander Pope.

Note the turned socle

Currently unlocated.

Plaster bust of Alexander Pope, 17”, with Kulgin.D.Duval, bookseller of Frenich, Foss, Pitlochry in his Winter catalogue of 1974 (below).

See Wimsatt. Supplement p.145

Another of this type is mentioned in Wimsatt p. 241 (59.3) as being in the possession of Mrs Richard Wigston of Mundesley, Norfolk in 1903.

Another version of this bust passed through Sotheby's lot 61, 5 July 1990.



Some more 18th Century Lead Busts

All have been attributed to John Cheere but I would tentatively like to suggest the involvement of Louis Francois Roubiliac.

The shape of the socles of Farinelli, Cumberland and the Salmons would suggest that they came from the same workshop

Matthew Prior


Duke of Cumberland


Dr and Mrs Salmon

Both Images courtesey Victoria and Albert Museum.


Anonymous lead bust V and A.

Height: 75.5 cm including pedestal, Width: 47.1 cm

Cast in lead with a stone base?

see -


Duke of Atholl


For the lead statuary at Blair Castle see my blog entry -

I am hopeful of discovering more about this bust in the future


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