Friday 1 March 2024

Hewetson (Part 31) Two busts of Frederick Augustus Hervey (1730–1803), 4th Earl of Bristol and Bishop of Derry and his Granddaughter Lady Caroline Crichton.


The Two Marble Busts of Frederick Augustus Hervey (1730–1803), 

4th Earl of Bristol and Bishop of Derry. 

and his Granddaughter Lady Caroline Crichton.

1. The Marble Bust.

at National Trust, Ickworth House.

They say - A portrait bust of the 4th Earl of Bristol on a marble socle, probably made in Italy before the Bishop had succeeded as Earl of Bristol in 1779.

Images below from Art UK website.

Unfortunately not high resolution but suitable for our purposes.


2. The NPG bust of  Frederick Augustus Hervey (1730–1803), 4th Earl of Bristol and Bishop of Derry.

Here the eyes have been left without the pupils being carved but the shape and treatment of the socle and prop and the finish of the back of the bust are instructive.

The NPG website say possibly by Joseph Wilton but I see no reason for this attribution.

It has the same details as the NPG version below.

The profile of the turned socle and support for the prop on the back and the eyes with uncut pupils are the same.

A short note on the Bishop's capricious nature.

Lifted from Burning Bright; Essays in Honour of David Bindman. Pub. UCL Press. 2015.

The Earl-Bishop was a patron of Canova, Christopher Hewetson, John Flaxman and John Deare, among many others. His frequent refusal to come up with payment has been described by Brinsley Ford as ‘eccentric and capricious’.14 

In March 1778 Thomsas Banks completed in Rome a model of a Cupid which, the sculptor’s wife noted, ‘is universally lik’d, & is order’d in marble by the Bishop of Derry’. In November that year Mrs Banks wrote again: ‘the figure which the Reverend Father in God &c &c &c

had ordered of Mr. B — he return’d on his hands, when almost completed, (with the frivolous excuse of its being Improper for a Bishop to have a naked figure in his house)’.15 

Another work commissioned in marble by the Earl-Bishop was an oval relief that Banks abandoned unfinished. The sculptor fell into a ‘Continual Delirium’ in which he cursed the Earl-Bishop as the cause of his mental collapse. Months later Banks returned to England with the Cupid and, after showing it at the Royal Academy in 1781, took it to St Petersburg and sold it to Catherine the Great.

There is another version of this bust in the National Portrait Gallery (see image below).


Provenance - Mortlock, Meldreth Hall, Cambs, dealer Gerald Kerin, London, from whom purchased by the NPG in 1953.


Lady Caroline Crichton (sometimes spelt Creighton) b.1779.

Marble bust.


Inscribed Christoforus Hewetson Fecit.

Image from Christopher Hewetson, by Brian de Breffny, Irish Arts Review (1984-1987), Vol. 3, No. 3 (Autumn, 1986), pp.

Currently the best photographs I can locate.

The Granddaughter of Frederick Augustus Hervey.

Daughter of Mary Hervey (1753 - 1842) and John Crichton, the Earl of Erne (1738 - 1828).

They were married in 1776.

It was not a marriage made in heaven (see Ingamells). The Viscountess spent a great deal of time abroad and accompanied her father with her daughter Caroline to Italy in 1785. 

Mother and daughter resided in Rome for about 4 years from 1786 until 1790

Unknown until 1985, the bust was purchased at a sale conducted by Osborne, King and Megran at Gilford County Down.

Current whereabouts unknown - last heard of in a collection in Belfast.


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