Wednesday 26 May 2021

Addison or someone else

This post still under construction.

Updated 2 November 2021.

This fine Lead bust is described as Joseph Addison (1672 - 1719) and attributed by Sotheby's to Henry Cheere.

My opinion is that this is not a bust of Addison (see photographs of John Cheere's bust of Addison below).

Sotheby's Lot 213 - 8 June 2021.

The catalogue entry -


Joseph Addison

lead bust; on a later ebonised wood square socle

22 7/8 in. (58.1 cm.) high; 27 ¾ in. (70.5 cm.) high, overall


 Anonymous Sale; Christie's, London, 2 July 1996, lot 189.


Sotheby's "essay"  in its catalogue states - here in its entirity -

" The identity of the sitter and the authorship of this bust are both confirmed by the existence of a bronzed plaster on a smaller scale in the York Castle Museum, Kirkleatham (Friedman and Clifford, loc. cit.). 

Joseph Addison (1672-1719) was one of the great figures of 18th century London, an essayist and librettist, who contributed to The Tatler. 

He is best remembered as the founder and co-author (with Richard Steele) of The Spectator".

The highlighted text is obvious nonsense - it is very clearly not  a version of the Kirkleatham Cheere bust of Addison in York - the comparison of the two busts can easily checked using Google images (or see the images illustrated below).

I fail to see how this was confirmed by Sotheby's - see the York Museum photographs reproduced from Art UK website and other busts of Addison see below.

This bust bears only a slight resemblance to known busts of Addison by John Cheere but I have very definite doubts that it is either Joseph Addison or a sculpture by Henry Cheere himself - it is most likely to be a cast by his brother John Cheere of Hyde Park Corner.

It would seem to follow that as the Sotheby bust is the only version of this bust so far to appear, that the busts of Addison by John Cheere, which were much reproduced first by Cheere, and then in three different sizes by Harris of the Strand and subsequently in basalt by  Wedgwood and again in the early 19th century by Shout of Holborn are the standard three dimensional portrait of  Addison.

see -

I have been wrong before but until more information appears I stand by this opinion.

This lead bust is much closer to a group of marble and lead busts which have been attributed to Henry Cheere but I believe were most likely sub contracted by Cheere to a very capable but so far unidentified sculptor, perhaps Louis Francois Roubiliac - we can be fairly sure Roubiliac arrived in England in 1730, but there is no record of his works before the mention of the bust of the castrato opera singer Senesino in the press in 1736.

These busts illustrated below are - an anonymous marble bust in the Louvre, the bust of George Pitt in the V and A and the bust of  Orlando Humfreys on his monument in St Margaret of Antioch parish church Barking.

The neck tie is telling and suggests to me that these busts were all perhaps made by the same author.


The Louvre Paris bust of an Anonymous Gentleman.

Suggested as workshop of Henry Cheere,

 Carved by an extremely competent sculptor - perhaps Roubiliac.

Formerly attributed to Louis-Fran├žois de Roubiliac (1702 -1762), as Sir Edward Walpole (1706-1784).


Acquired by the Louvre with an hypothetical attribution to Henry Cheere.


Attributed in 1992 by Malcom Baker to John Van Nost III? and dated circa 1750!!

I am very doubtful about this attribution and believe the sculptor of this bust needs to be reassessed.


My feeling is that it is slightly earlier than 1750, perhaps circa 1730 - 1740, see the bust on the monument to Orlando Humfreys at Barking Parish Church (below).


Orlando Humphreys.

St Margaret of Antioch Parish Church.


see my blog post for much more on this bust.

Photographed by the author.


George Pitt.

74 cms.

V and A.

Sold at the Stowe Sale in 1848 as a bust of Prior by Roubiliac.

Photograph by the Author.

Here suggested as from the workshop of Henry Cheere but by a very skilled sculptor - perhaps Roubiliac.

The V and A say -

"This is a finer version of the portrait on the monument to George Pitt at Stinsford in Dorset, and was probably executed for Encombe House, where Pitt's widow and son (John) lived. Between August 1738 and April 1741 Pitt's widow made three payments, amounting to £146.8.0, to Henry Cheere....."


"Historical significance: This is among the earliest of English Rococo busts, the decorative effect of the shirt front and the fluttering tie are particularly notable. A similar drapery style may be seen in Cheere's figure of Sir Thomas Hardy at Westminster Abbey (ca. 1740) and the bust of Sir Orlando Humphreys (died 1736) at Barking"


Another version of this bust is on the monument to George Pitt at Stinsford, Dorset (see photograph below), and the marble shown here was probably carved at the same date for the family's house. The bust was said to have been 'executed from a model made after his death from recollections by his son John Pitt', a distinguished amateur architect, and shows George Pitt in the informal dress that was being used frequently by this date for both painted and sculptural portraits.


see -

See my blog posts -


Lead busts of the mid 18th century are few and far between but this lead bust has obvious similarities with the few other lead busts of the period such as the bust perhaps of Farinelli probably by Roubiliac, formerly suggested by me as possibly Senesino (Francesco Bernardi  b. October 31, 1686–November 27, 1758) before the appearance of the terracotta bust of Senesino now in the Metropolitan Museum, New York.

A bust of Senesino was completed by Roubiliac by 1736. I understand that there is a pocketbook belonging to Elizabetta Avanzatti (an Italian historian and distant relative of Senesino and who resides in the Palazzo Bernard Avanzatti in Sienna) which was kept by Senesino and which mentions his sitting for Roubiliac in 1735. I would dearly like to know more about this pocket book!

For Senesino see The Unpublished Senesino by Elisabetta Avanzatti in Catalogue Handel and the Castrati -2006. Handel House, London

It seems that Senesino owned a marble bust of himself and requested in his will that it be used as his funeral monument at Sienna.  It has since disappeared, presumed destroyed in the Napoleonic Wars.

There is a short poem by Lockman on Roubiliac and his bust of Senesino in the London Daily Post and General Advertiser of 4 June 1736. I believe this is probably the first mention of Roubiliac in the English press.



To Mr ROUBILIAC on seeing a bust made by him of SENESINO by Mr LOCKMAN

When Senesino breathes in Vocal strains

We think Apollo’s left the aetherial plains

When we the Warbler view, by thee exprest

He seems as by the hand of nature drest

Thy art so happily eludes the eye

His voice such sweetness boasts, and swells so high,

That which best imitates, twill doubtful be

Thou Senesino or Apollo be.


Senesino left England for Italy in 1736 never to return.

Farinelli (Carlo Broschi born Jan. 24, 1705, Naples, died July 15, 1782, Bologna ), the castrato opera singer left England for Spain 11 June 1737.

Lead bust, possibly of Farinelli by Roubiliac.


London Art Market 2010.

see -


 The Lead Busts of Dr Salmon and his wife at the V and A.

Purchased together with A.19-1921 from the Rev. J.D.C. Wickham, 8 Landsdown Place East, Bath in 1921 for £170.

Image courtesy V and A


Another excellent unidentified lead bust  

Including pedestal height: 75.5cm.

Width: 47.1cm.

Note the typical socle used by John Cheere.

Image courtesy V and A.


The Lead bust of Matthew Prior now in the Louvre.

Matthew Prior.

John Cheere.

Lead bust.

Approximately three quarters life size.

Height given on website 43 x width 33 cms.

It is unclear whether this includes the socle.

Louvre. Paris.

see -

Sold in 2012 as a bust of Hyacinth Rigaud.

see my blog post


I would suggest that all these busts emanated from the same workshop.

Almost certainly that of  John or Henry Cheere

The  lead busts by John Cheere, illustrated here are all distinguished by the distinct style of the treatment of the embroidery work on their waistcoats.

The excellent workmanship suggests a top rank sculptor  and Roubiliac falls neatly into that slot.


The Sotheby's Lead Bust.

described as Addison.

Low resolution images courtesy Sotheby's.


Joseph Addison by John Cheere.

A Lead bust of Addison by John Cheere.


The Lead Bust of Addison, almost certainly by John Cheere from a photograph taken in 1917 of Heywood House, Ballinakill, co. Laois, Ireland. 

The garden was redesigned and furnished from about 1909 by Sir Edwin Lutyens for Lt. Col. Sir William Hutchinson Poe. 

This bust was one of four - the others were Cicero, Shakespeare and Handel. 

The size is difficult to determine probably three quarter life size. The house was destroyed by fire in 1950. They have disappeared - see my blog entry for - 21 January 2014.


Photograph courtesy Country Life Photo Archive.


The Kirkleatham plaster bust of Addison - 

Supplied by John Cheere in 1748 - York Museums.

Joseph Addison by John Cheere.

Height 16.5 ins

Photographs here courtesy Art UK website.


Another plaster bust of Addison by Cheere is at Stourhead.

Size 55.5 x 38 cms

Low res Photograph from the National Trust website


Another small bust of Addison sold from The Peter Hone Collection by Christie's Sth. Ken. 26 Oct 2016.

No size given approx. 15 inches tall

The life size bust of Addison by John Cheere in the Wren Library at Trinity College, Cambridge.

Plaster bust of Joseph Addison.

The Wren Library, Trinity College, Cambridge, 


Almost certainly supplied by John Cheere.


Life Size  - 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.


These busts were gifted to the Library by Dr Francis Hooper (1694 - 1763).


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.

Photographs here taken by the author.

I would like to thank Dr Nicolas Bell of the Wren Library, for his assistance and for making it possible to obtain these photographs.


The bust was reproduced by Wedgwood and Bentley.


Wedgwood and Bentley.

Late 18th century.

Image courtesy Birmingham Museums. 


Another version of  a bust was available from Wedgwood with Addison wearing a turban or soft hat

14.5 inches tall


The Portraits of Addison

It is dangerous to make comparisons but to my eye these earlier painted portraits of  Addison of c 1712, 1714 and 1719 do not resemble the lead bust which was probably cast in the 1730's - 40's.

It should be noted that Addison died in 1719, and that none of the portraits of him show him with a bare head.

For a list of the portraiture of Addison see


Joseph Addison.

by Sir Godfrey Kneller, Bt.

circa 1712.

36 in. x 28 in. (914 mm x 711 mm).

NPG 3193.


Joseph Addison.

by Michael Dahl.

oil on canvas, 1719.

40 1/2 in. x 31 1/4 in. (1029 mm x 794 mm).

Purchased, 1884.

Image courtesy National Portrait Gallery  - NPG 714

The slight double cleft chin shown in the Dahl portrait is missing in the lead bust.


Charles Jervas.

Signed and dated 1714.

1245 x 991 mm. 

National Trust. 

Knole, Kent.


Colchester Museum

Art UK



Detail from a Miniature in the National Gallery of Ireland.


16 x 13.7 cms.



Christian Frederick Zinke (1683 - 1767).


sight size 3.6 x 2.9 cms.

Royal Collection.




Usher Gallery Lincoln.


Some Engravings of Addison.

Joseph Addison.

After Kneller.

Proof Engraving by George Vertue.


British Museum.


Joseph Addison after Kneller.

Mezzotint with etching. 


British Museum.


Joseph Addison.

John Simon.

After Dahl.

National Gallery of Scotland.


van der Gught (d.1725).



Nat Gall Scotland.



Joseph Addison.

Engraving after Kneller.



Image courtesy

National Galleries of Scotland.


Some further Mid 18th Century Lead Busts

A pair of life size lead busts of Andrea Palladio and Inigo Jones, were included in Christie’s sale of the collection of Professor Sir Albert Richardson PRA (1880-1964)  in London on September 18 and 19. from the collection of the celebrated architect and President of the Royal Academy (1954-1956).


see -


Whilst we are on the subject of Busts of Addison:

My personal opinion is that I don't believe the wonderful little ivory bust below is either a bust of Addison or by David le Marchand!

Ivory bust.

Supposedly Addison by Le Marchand.

I think probably not. If the socle is original then it it more likely to be continental.

It has a passing resemblance to the French Architect Robert de Cotte (1656 - 1735).

Height 10.5 inches.

Image Detroit Institute of Art.

de Cotte by Coysevox.


This fabulous little bust above is more likely to be French or German and should be compared with the ivory bust  of an anonymous man by C. Lacroix in the Metropolitan Museum (below).

Dimensions: Height (bust only): 5 5/8 in. (14.3 cm).

The Met website states

"The virtuoso Baroque carver, here signing C Lacroix fecit (under the man's left arm), was a Franco-Flemish native whose principal activity was in Genoa; he was possibly the same Lacroix, given name unrecorded, who was in Rome producing sculptures for the gardens at Versailles in 1680. 

Our subject here has not been ascertained, but his identity may someday be unravelled through his distinctive pockmarked face and pugnacious profile. 

The two-ribbon tie was worn both in Genoa and at the court of Louis XIV. Lacroix established these details, as well as the pseudobrocade, with punctilio, but what really excited him was capturing the arrested flowing movement of wig and lace.


M. Fau , Paris (by 1865) ; Emma Lazarus Budge ; [ her sale, Paul Graupe, Berlin October 4–6, 1937, lot 85; sold to Otto Dettmers ] ; Otto Dettmers (1937–d. 1986; to his son) ; [ by descent to Boyke Dettmers , Bremen, 1986–2005; sold to MMA ]

Another Ivory bust perhaps by the same hand is in the V and A.


Another anonymous bust of a young man (below) in the V and A.

This huge ivory seems more likely to my eye, to be by Le Marchand.

Height: 37.8cm.

Width: 27.3cm.

Ivory alone height: 34cm.

Weight: 8.9kg.

I have touched on the ivory carvings of Le Marchand, van der Hagen and Lucke previously

if interested use the search box on the top left hand corner of this blog.

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