Tuesday 6 February 2024

Thomas Mansel Talbot - Hewetson in Rome (Part 10).


Post under construction.

Supposedly Thomas Mansel Talbot 1747 - 1813.

Victoria and Albert Museum.

I am informed by the current owner of Penrice that this is not Mansel Talbot.

There is a bust of Mansel Talbot at Penrice but I have so far been unable to obtain images - I live in hope!


Supposedly Thomas Mansel Talbot 1747 - 1813.

of Margam Park and Penrice Castle.

Christopher Hewetson.



Height 61.5

Victoria and Albert Museum.


For more on the family history see -



and the family estates in South Wales -





Some brief notes on Thomas Mansell Talbot

Thomas Mansel Talbotwent on the Grand Tour from 1770 to 1775 and commissioned this bust of himself at a cost of £68 - a fairly standard charge - from the Irish sculptor Christopher Hewetson. At the same time he commissioned a bust of Pope Clement XIV (Museum no. A.22-1948). for £140.

See my post - https://bathartandarchitecture.blogspot.com/2024/02/christopher-hewetson-part-4.html

Talbot paid Hewetson £68 for the marble. It was supplied with three plaster casts and its mould.
Info from Classical Sculpture and the Culture of Collecting in Britain since 1760 By Viccy Coltman.

Talbot had spent a year in Geneva before travelling to Turin where he stayed between August 1769 and March 1770. He travelled south in October of 1769 to Florence with Peter King, Richard Malone and a Mr Leighton - on the 15 May he was in Venice

From 30 November 1771 until June 1772 he was in Rome He was back in England by August 1772

In the course of his visits he was encouraged by Charles Townley to purchase works of art for Penrice on a grand scale.

He had "money enough to supply a total want of Judgements" thought Mrs Home - her husband described him as"£7,000 a year in Wales, awkward half bred Dutchess of Beaufort fond"

Twenty three cases of pictures and marbles were shipped on the Eagle from Leghorn (Livorno) to Wales in June 1775. and Talbots Italian notebook records £7397 spent on  pictures copies sculptures drawings plans models books and chimneypieces? 

Talbot used as his agents Thomas Jenkins (an undated  payment of £4140 is recorded) and Gavin Hamilton (Hewetson sculpted a bust of Hamilton)

In 1772 he sat for a miniature portrait to Marsigliand he commissioned a painting for 260 guineas from Mengs (also portrayed by Hewetson).

He bought the Abbe Dolce's entire collection in 1773 and commisioned copies from Cardelli.

He commissioned Diomede from JT Sergel in the same year (there is a version in the National Museum Stockholm.

The treatment of the eyes should be compared with the anonymous Ashmolean marble busts
see - 

The image below of the back of this bust is from Pinterest

The bust is unusual in that it shows a man with his own hair worn long.

The bust of Luigi Gonzaga di Castigleone also by Hewetson of 1776, now in the Museo di Roma, Palazzo Braschi and formerly in the Roman Academy known as Arcadia shows a similar hairstyle, now generally called a mullet.


When John Byng (later Viscount Torrington) visited Margam Abbey in 1787 he was very critical of the general ruin & neglect of the property. 

Impressed by the Chapter House, Byng observed that “probably Mr T., travell’d gentleman, knows not of, or esteems this treasue; but puts more store by some (unpack’d) boxes of statues, (as the maid call’d them) he has brought from Italy – this is one of the advantages of travel, to come home with a vamp’d Corregio and some shabby marbles and then neglect the real antiqities and old pictures at your family seat!”

For Penrice Castle see - https://cadwpublic-api.azurewebsites.net/reports/parkgarden/FullReport?lang=en&id=255

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