Thursday 1 February 2024

Christopher Hewetson Irish Sculptor in Rome (Part 3 ). and his assistant Cristofano Prosperi.


Christopher Hewetson, an Irish Sculptor in Rome (Part 3).

and his assistant Cristoforo Prosperi.


Some notes and Images Cristofano Prosperi ( ? - 1816) assistant to Christopher Hewetson in Rome.

Prosperi was still working in the Rome studio of Hewetson when he died.


A Colossal bust of Mr Pitt.

Possibly William Pitt the Younger.

In about 1796 Hewetson received a commission from the 4th Earl of Bristol as the Bishop of Derry had become, for a statue? of Pitt 

See Dictionary of English... in Italy Ingamells pub. Yale 1997.

see also the excellent Thesis by Maeve O'Dwyer, University of Edinburgh, 2016.

From Batoni's Brush to Canova's Chisel..........'Dwyer2017%20Vol1.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

In the Essay by Katherine Esdaile - Christopher Hewetson and His Monument to Dr. Baldwin in Trinity College, Dublin in The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, Vol. 77, No. 2 (Dec., 1947), pp. 134-135.

Available on line through

She states that in a copy of Whitaker's History of Whalley, which had once belonged to RH Beaumont there were some loose notes on Hewetson......

The notorious Bishop, Earl of Bristol for "a colossal portrait of Mr. Pitt in marble," he relates that Hewetson, having just an unsatisfactory engraving to go on only undertook it "for the Love of Bread and Cheese".



Prosperi was still working in Rome in 1800 but was in England by 1806 when he exhibited at the Royal Academy.

A Monumental Statuary Marble bust.

Depicted à l'Antique, the socle signed and dated CRISTOFANO PROSPERI.FECIT.ROMA.1800,

Back in the 80's I was made aware that some objects from Ickworth House were occasionally coming onto the market .........


List of works by Cristofano Prosperi.

from the online database.

A Biographical Dictionary of Sculptors in Britain, 1660-1851.

The comments in italics are the authors.

Captain Sir Peter Parker. Funerary Monument.   †1814  St Margaret, Westminster, London.

Edward Grant.  Funerary Monument.  ?1812. Lichborough, Northants.

Frederick-Augustus, Duke of York and Albany. Bust. nd. Holland House, London. Untraced.

Sir Francis Bourgeois. Bust. 1811-1812 Dulwich Picture Gallery, London, Mausoleum. (see images below).

V Pucitta. Bust. 1810. Exhib. RA, London, 768. Untraced.

J Symmons. Bust. 1810. Exhib. RA, London, 867. Untraced.

Mr Bruce.  Bust. 1811. Exhib. RA, London, 911. Untraced.

Unidentified gentleman. Bust. 1811.   Exhib. RA, London, 923. Untraced.

Mrs Morse.       Bust     1812. Exhib. RA, London, 899. Untraced.

Princess Pietrapersia of Naples. Bust. 1813. Exhib. RA, London, 921, Untraced.

William Shakespeare.  Bust. 1813.  Exhib. RA, London, 923. Untraced.

Rev T Watkins.  Bust. 1814. Exhib. RA, London, 775. Untraced.

Rev R Harington. Bust. 1814.    Exhib. RA, London, 776. Untraced.

P Watkins. Bust. 1814. Exhib. RA, London, 799. Untraced.

General Moreau.  Bust.  1815    Exhib. RA, London, 873. Untraced.

J Forbes.  Bust. 1816. Exhib RA. London, 942, Untraced.

Venus and Cupid, Statue.  c.1812. Stratfield Saye, Hants.

Bacchus and Ariadne, Statue. c.1812 Stratfield Saye, Hants.

Sir John Throckmorton (after a model by C Hewetson), Bust. 1800, Coughton Court, Alcester, Warks (National Trust).     

Noel Desenfans, 1811-1812,  Bust. Dulwich Picture Gallery, London, Mausoleum. (see below).

William Pitt.  Bust. 1810,  Untraced. (see images above).

Mr Vestris. Bust. 1810,  Exhib. RA, London, 868. Untraced.

Lord Downe. Bust. 1810,    Exhib. RA, London, 887. Untraced.

Henry Hope. Bust. 1811,    Exhib. RA, London, 937, Untraced.

Horatia Nelson. Bust. 1811, NMM. Greenwich, SCU0107. (see below)

George, Marquess of Blandford. Bust, 1814. Exhib. RA, London, 767, Untraced.

Achilles lamenting the death of Patroclus, 1813. Exhib. RA, London, 906. Untraced.

Diana. Bust. 1814. Exhib. RA, London, 777 Untraced.

Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex. Bust, 1811. Woburn Abbey, Beds.( the plaster model was exhibited RA 1811 (953), the marble RA 1812 (935) Info here NPG). see

Noel Joseph Desenfans.

Christofero Prosperi.

1811 -12.

Dulwich Picture Gallery.

Images below from Art UK website.

The nose appears to have undergone a somewhat amateur restoration.


Sir Peter Francis Bourgeois (1753 - 1811).

Cristofano Prosperi.

Marble bust.

H 49 x W 31 x D 23 cm  

Dulwich Picture Gallery.

Images here from Art UK website


Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex..

Plaster Bust.

A  plaster model was exhibited RA 1809 (953)

Dreweatts Auctions Newbury.

 Marble Bust, 1811. is at Woburn Abbey, Beds., the marble RA 1812 (935) 
Info here NPG) (note to self the dates need checking!)

see my post on The Hewetson Herm Busts

Images below courtesy -


Horatia Nelson. (1801 - 81).

Inscribed 'C. Prosperi fecit'.

Essay below lifted from the NMM website.

 exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1812, so shows the sitter at the age of 10 or 11. 

Horatia Nelson (1801-81) was the first and only surviving child - possibly a surviving twin - of Nelson and Emma, Lady Hamilton, conceived in Palermo or Naples and born in great secrecy in January 1801, just after they and Sir William Hamilton had returned overland to England late in 1800. 

She was initially placed in the secret care of a nurse and the lovers constructed an elaborate charade that she was Nelson's god-daughter to conceal her true identity. Her father was supposed to be a fictional seaman called Thompson who subsequently 'died' to make her relationship to Nelson and Emma adoptive. 

After Sir William's death in 1803 she lived with Emma at Merton and, though she later privately recognized Nelson was her father, she never knew the identity of her mother since Lady Hamilton never revealed this. 

Despite earlier rumour it only became incontrovertible with the publication of correspondence between the lovers in 1887, after Horatia's death. 

Just before his death at Trafalgar in 1805, Nelson expressly asked that she thereafter use his name only, which she did and continued to live with Lady Hamilton to the latter's death in Calais in 1815. 

She then returned to the care of Nelson's family (initially that of his sister Catherine Matcham and from 1817 her Bolton cousins) until her marriage to the Revd Philip Ward, later Vicar of Tenterden, Kent, in 1822. Though not greatly resembling her father in youth she later became more like him: a photograph taken about 1860 shows a remarkable resemblance. She and her husband had ten children (though four died in infancy) and Ward informally adopted the family name of Nelson-Ward. He died in 1859 after which she moved to Pinner, Middlesex, to be near her third son, Nelson, who was a lawyer. She died aged of 80 and was buried there, where her grave can still be seen.


The Authors Photographs of Horatia Nelson.


Monument to Captain Peter Parker. (d.1814)

St Margaret's, Westminster.

The usual fine images (not) from Westminster Abbey.

Just low enough resolution so that one cannot read the inscription.

Rather mean spirited I think.

In the pious hope of a glorious Resurrection, pursued through virtue, faith and valour here lie interred the mortal remains of Sir Peter Parker, Baronet, aged XXVIII years, Captain of His Majesty's frigate Menelaus, an accomplished officer and seaman, who after landing with a part of his crew on the coast of America defeated an enemy supported by cavalry and artillery three times the number of his own forces; and in the moment of victory received a mortal wound, under which he continued to cheer his men to follow up their triumph, until, sinking under its fatal result, he fell into the arms of the companions of his glory and bravely surrendered on the field of battle his own gallant spirit to the mercy of heaven. He was the lineal descendant of three distinguished British admirals, of whose virtues and valour he was alike the inheritor. His great grand father was Admiral Christopher Parker. He was the eldest son of Admiral Charles Parker, whose father was the late Sir Peter Parker, Bart. of Bassingbourn Hall, Essex, Admiral of the Fleet, and his maternal uncle was the Honorable Admiral Byron. After fifteen years of active and intrepid toil in the service of his country, emulating the heroism of his ancestry, he thus gloriously closed his earthly career Aug. 3d. 1814. The officers and crew of His Majesty's ship Menelaus, on their return home, in testimony of their deep affliction at the fall of their beloved commander, and of their affection for his memory, have erected this monument, as well to him as to his ship's company, as to attest to future times their admiration of that heroic valour which distinguished him in life and ennobled him in death.

A Latin line follows which can be translated as:


There is an appointed day for everyone. For all of us the span of our life is brief and irretrievable but to prolong fame by your deeds, this is the task of virtue. Virgil

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