Monday 22 February 2021

The Sarti Busts at Wimpole Hall (part 1). Pope


The Plaster Busts (Part 1).

Supplied by

Pier Angelo Sarti (1793 - 1868). 

Now at Wimpole Hall, Cambridge 

National Trust

Images courtesy Art Uk sculpture database website.

Alexander Pope after Roubiliac

Bronzed Plaster.

Height  62 x W 45 x D 20 cm.

The bronzing appears to have recently been refreshed.

Comparison with the British Museum plaster known to have come from the Roubiliac Studio bought at the posthumous sale by Dr Maty, suggests that this bust wasmoulded from a mould closely related to the BM bust.

One of a suite of busts by Sarti at Wimpole - Dryden, Locke, and Milton all have the same eared base to the bust on the socle found on classical busts and much used by Cavaceppi and Albacini sculptors working in Rome in the 18th century. 

There is also a plaster bust of William Pitt the Younger after Nollekens at Wimpole bronzed in the same fashion which they say is by Sarti (this needs to be checked).

These busts may originally have been at Wimpole, but are more likely to have been acquired as a job lot after 1936” by Captain George and Elsie Bambridge, who owned and refurnished the house.

The type of socle on this was also much used by the plaster figure manufacturers Benjamin and  Robert Shout (c. 1760 - 1835) of Holborn, busts of Pope, Milton, Locke and Dryden all appear in an undated early 19th century unillustrated catalogue of Charles Harris (d. 1795) with a price list and dated 1777.

see my blog post -

They also appear on the Sarti Busts at the Athenaeum with the rest of the socle cut off.

see -

This website provides an excellent potted history by John Kenworthy Brown of the 14 busts supplied by Sarti in or just after 1830 to the Athenaeum.


The British Museum Plaster Bust of Alexander Pope.


Height: 62 centimetres.

Width: 42 centimetres (max.)

Depth: 21.30 centimetres.



Acquired from the posthumous sale of the contents of Roubiliac's studio at St Martin's Lane.


Presented by Dr Matthew Maty, 1762, who purchased it at Roubiliac's sale, either lot 9, first day's sale, 12 May 1762, or lot 3 or lot 14, second day's sale, 13 May 1762, or lot 2, third day's sale, 14 May 1762.


For the further examples of this Roubiliac bust of Pope including the marble in the Royal Collection see -


Alexander Pope


The V and A Marble bust

Height with Pedestal 62.7 cms.


Alexander Pope

after Roubiliac

Plaster bust

560 cms.

The panelled socle was frequently used by John Cheere.

The bust is slightly shorter than the other Roubiliac type plasters having lost a couple of inches off the bottom of the drapery

The Plaster has a pronounced forward lean and the hair is slightly cruder than the Barber Roubiliac terracotta of Pope, but the modelling of the face, neck and clothing is of excellent quality (note the second smaller fold on the edge of the chemise).


The Gentleman's Magazine, and Historical Chronicle, Volume 95, Part 2, 1825, with reference to Stourhead mentions "a most spirited bust of Pope by Roubiliac which is generally admired".


The attribution to Harris of the Strand of c 1780 by various authors, I think should be questioned.


My current opinion is that it is a reduced version from the Roubiliac workshop

The Stourhead bust of Alexander Pope

Photographs above by the author.


Alexander Pope

After Roubiliac


Sold alongside busts of Milton, etc at Sotheby's sale, Prior Park Bath, 29 October, 1998.


Property of William Rees Mogg.


A Roubiliac type very similar to the bust at Stourhead the head again with a pronounced forward lean, but this one less truncated with a different, Cavaceppi type socle. This style of socle was much used by Shout and Sarti.

Wimsatt was unaware of this bust.


The Athenaeum Plaster Bust of Alexander Pope.

A lost Plaster bust of Alexander Pope (1688-1744) by Sarti was formerly at the Athenaeum and is one of the four busts now missing.

Supplied by P Sarti in 1830. This is not the marble bust by Rysbrack which was bequeathed to the Club in 1868 and sold in 1986, but a plaster almost certainly based on the bust  by Roubiliac as the Wimpole Hall example illustrated above. 

There is a bronzed bust of Pope, which was formerly at Shardeloes and now at Birmingham (Baker, 128, 155, fig.66). but a close inspection reveals that the Shardloes bust is the same type as the bust in the Wren Library, Trinity College Cambridge and is a version of Pope by Cheere - a telling detail is the embroidery on the drapery which is a typical Cheere feature in my opinion (see my post). Below is another plaster bust perhaps also by Cheere.

see -

 In 1833, the Athenæum bust was paired with that of Locke.


The Calke Abbey bust of Pope alongside busts of Shakespeare and Milton.

Alexander Pope


540 x 330 mm.

Calke Abbey - National Trust

Perhaps by John Cheere 

The style of the socle and embroidered drapery on this bust were much used by Cheere.

This bust is very close to a marble bust of Pope photographed by the author in a private collection in Twickenham in 2001 see:


The Sarti bust of Pope was moved downstairs at the Athenaeum in 1846, and there is no further mention of it.

Info above from John Kenworthy Brown - see -


A Plaster bust of Pope signed JP Papern (Papera), 16 Marylebone St, Golden Square, was in the possession of Mrs Webb and mentioned in her book Michael Rysbrack, Sculptor, pub 1954 p. 78.

Note: Bartholomew Papera  fl. 1790 d.1815. Early 19th century London plaster figure seller.


For a catalogue of plaster anatomical figures by Sarti circa 1850 see -

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