Wednesday 3 March 2021

The Sarti Plaster Busts at Wimpole Hall, (part 2) Milton.

 The Sarti Plaster Busts at Wimpole Hall, Cambridge

(part 2). 

John Milton (1608 - 1674).

For the Sarti bust of Alexander Pope at Wimpole see my previous post.

Included in this post is the similar plaster bust of Milton at Brighton Museum and Art Gallery. It has a similar eared base to the bust but the prop at the back is quite different.

The subject of the busts of Milton is complicated by the many different busts made of him from the 17th Century. It has been my intention to try and make sense of all the different types - but this posts has been created as a sort of aide memoire to record the 18th and early 19th century versions of the plaster busts.

Pierce, Scheemakers Rysbrack and Roubiliac and John Cheere all made busts of Milton

These illustrated here are based on what appears to be the first recorded plaster version by John Cheere at the Wren Library, Trinity College Cambridge (below).

The Wren Library plaster bust of John Milton

John Cheere

Trinity College, Cambridge.

Life size.

The busts below are derived from this bust or casts from this bust.

Photographs above taken by the author


Illegible inscription on the back of the prop. Whilst the work of the Art UK sculpture project can only be applauded I could take issue with the low resolution of some photographs. It would have been really useful to have a better snap of this inscription.


John Milton

The Athenaeum Club 


Known to be by Sarti see -


John Milton


Thickly overpainted.

Height 68 x W 52 x D 32 cm.

No obvious inscription on the back. 

Brighton Museum and Art Gallery.

Photographs below courtesy Art UK sculpture database website see -


The 4  life size bronzed plaster busts  at West Wycombe, including that of Milton appear to be late generation versions of the Cheere type busts. I was unable to get to the back of them but they are close to the Sarti versions. (check this info).

Low resolution images at West Wycombe taken by the author under very difficult conditions.


These bust are derived from the engraved portrait by William Faithorne (1620 - 91).


Milton byEngraved by George Vertue after Faithorne

Poor, low quality scans from the NPG  (why do they do this?).

Note to directors of NPG - take a look at the Rijksmuseum website for an object lesson in how to run a museum website properly

There are two busts of Milton in the church of St Giles, Cripplegate, City of London . The 1793 bust of Milton on the south wall was made for the church by Bacon and paid for by Samuel Whitbread, of the brewery family. There is another bust, under the organ gallery, by the sculptor George Frampton.

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