Thursday 4 February 2021

Busts of Archbishop William Laud and William Herbert, Earl of Pemboke, Bodleian Library.

This post under construction.

Archbishop William Laud 1573 - 1645, 

William Herbert, Earl of Pemboke

A Pair of Terracotta Busts.

by or after Hubert le Sueur (fl. 1610 - 51)

 and the Bodleian Library.

and related sculpture including the bronze bust of Laud at St John's College, Oxford.

and the two terracotta busts in Hawksmoor's Clarendon Building, formerly the printing house of Oxford University Press.

With a few notes on the Sculpture on the Clarendon Building and the Sheldonian Theatre.


Archbishop William Laud.

Bodleian Library.

As far as I know currently in deep store - it was not possible to view this and the bust of Pembroke when I carried out my project to record the 17th and 18th century portrait sculpture in Oxford in 2018.


H40 × W23 × D23 cm.

Probably that purchased in 1734.

This may be one of the 'two Bustos of Abp. Laud, £2.10' recorded in the Vice-chancellor's accounts for 1734. 

A second bust, similar to this, terracotta painted brown (LP 103a), is in the Delegates' Room of the Clarendon Building (see below).

What happened to the second one?

A similar head, gilt bronze, by Le Sueur, is in the library of St John's College, Oxford, is inscribed with the date 1635. 

Photo: © Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford.  

Terms of use: CC-BY-NC 4.0. 


Archbishop Laud.

Library St John's College, Oxford.

Photographedby the Author.


Archbishop William Laud.

Clarenden Building, Oxford.

The Clarendon Building Bust of Archbishop Laud.

Terracotta cast by Joseph Ransford, 1737.

It was impossible to inspect these busts closely in order to confirm the material and gauge the age of the paint with any certainty.

Ransford has proved difficult to trace - there is nothing in the Biographical Dictionary of British Sculptors ([pub Yale 2009).

A John Ransford, Carver is mentioned on Oxford city leases of 1685 and 1699/1700.

see - Oxford City Properties, Herbert Edward Salter. pub. 1926, Page 279.

John Ransford also appears in Early Science in Oxford RT Gunther Vol III, pub 1925 mentioned in the building accounts of the first Ashmolean Museum building as a Joyner in 1688.

Photograph above from artuk website.


All the photographs here of the bust of Laud were taken by the author.


Medallion of Archbishop Laud.
by Jean Roettiers.
Struck c.1680?
Diam 58 mm.

Image courtesy British Museum.



Photographs above of the bust of Clarendon above from the artuk website.


Photographs of the Clarendon bust below taken by the author


The Lead statue of Clarendon.

on the West Front of the Clarendon Building.

Francis Bird (London 1667 - London 1731).

The building was funded largely from the proceeds of the book History of the Great Rebellion by the 1st Earl of Clarendon.

The statue stood from 1721 until the 1940s in a niche on the south side of the building (now a window).



Engraving by R White after Peter Lely.


Image Courtesy the National Gallery of Scotland.


Engraving by David Loggan.


The Bodleian Library. 

Hand-coloured aquatint.

 from Ackermann's History of the University of Oxford, 1814 (D74.1a/C73)


Pub. 1836.


The West end of the Bodleian Library.

Clearly showing the two gilded busts on the ends of the central bookcases.

John Fulleylove (1845 - 1908).



Internet photograph


I have already written at some length on the busts at the Bodleian Library.

These images of the two gilded busts of Laud and Herbert by or after le Sueur have been recently posted on the Bodleian website.


The Bronze Statue of Lord Pembroke.

Outside the entrance to the Bodleian Library, Oxford.

Originally put up inside the Bodleian Library Picture Gallery.

Image courtesy Rare Books Department of the Bodleian Library.


Photographs by the author.







D.D. [= dedit et dedicavit]







Thomas, [8th] Earl of Pembroke and Montgomery, inheritor of his [the 3rd Earl's] titles and qualities, gave and dedicated to the University of Oxford this statue of his great-uncle cast in bronze in the form that Peter Paul Rubens had painted. A.D. 1723.


Anonymous bust by Huberty Le Sueur.

Now in the Yale Centre for British Art

They say perhaps 1640 or 19th century - Hedging their bets!

It certainly bears more than a superficial resemblance to the busts and statue of Pembroke (above).

see -

Anonymous bronze bust by le Sueur.

suggested as perhaps Lord Pembroke by the author

Overall: 27 1/2 x 24 x 12 inches (69.9 x 61 x 30.5 cm)



The Royal Collection.

Busts by Hubert Le Sueur.


A few notes and images.

A subject I will return to all being well.

The Lead Statues on the Roof of the Clarendon Building, Oxford University.

 The lead statues on the roof, formerly nine in number, represent the Muses, and were designed by Sir James Thornhill, and cast by Francis Birdwhose drawings for them are preserved in the Clarke collection at Worcester College (in a volume of engravings in Case T.D. 5).


  According to an entry in Hearne's 'diary, dated 12 Nov. 1717, 'Last week began to be put up upon the new Printing House in Oxford, a Parcell of Heavy Leaden Statues call'd the nine Muses. These leaden Statues had lain at ye Wharf above Two Years, having been first of all refused. But Basket at last prevail'd with the Delegates to take them, and by that means he hath got more Money from them, these statues coming to about six hundred Pounds.'  In fact the Vice-Chancellor's accounts show that they cost the University only £300. Their place of origin is not mentioned, but it is likely that it was John van Nost's leaden figure manufactory in Piccadilly, for in March 1719–20.


 Dr. Clarke and Townesend went up to London in order to bespeak some 'Vases for the printing house', and 'agreed with Mr. Noist for 80li for the three, to be delivered to the Oxford barge'. These vases were intended to occupy vacant pedestals on the roof, where they can be seen in Williams's view of 1732–3, but they have since disappeared.

see -

Nine lead figures of the Muses by designed by Sir James Thornhill originally stood on top of the building. Thomas Hearne (Reliquiae, p. 380) says that they “were at first refused, and suffered to lie at the Wharf for above two years; they cost £600”. 

Seven of the originals remain. (Euterpe and Melpomene fell down and were flattened, one in 1810 and one a few years earlier. They were replaced by fibre-glass replicas 

The Clarendon Building formerly the Printing House of the  Oxford University Press.

View of the North Front from Broad Street.

Engraved by William Woolet 1755.

Size - Height: 294 millimetres, Width: 439 millimetres.

Image courtesey British Museum.

All of these images show the statue on the front of the Sheldonian Theatre.

Statues of Archbishop Sheldon, the Duke of Ormonde, and perhaps King Charles II.

were carved by Henry Cheere. 

They were removed 1958-63 due to their poor condition.


In 1737 the beautification of the building was completed by the erection in the niches of the south front of two statues of Sheldon and Ormonde, carved out of white marble at a cost of £223 7s. by Henry Cheere of Westminster. 

William Townesend, who put them in position, was also paid out of the Theatre account a mysterious £42 18s. for 'other work'. Could this have been for the statue of Charles II in classical armour, standing over the north door and of which there is no direct mention?

Bird carved the cartouche of arms over the north door, and Mr. Hussey suggests that he also carved the statue. For further information about Bird, see Mrs. J. C. Cole's article in Oxoniensia, xiv, 63.

see -


For the bust of Bodley and the Bodleian Library see -

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