Friday 17 January 2014

British Museum Plaster Bust of Alexander Pope by Roubiliac.

A Plaster version of the bust of Alexander Pope by Louis Francois Roubiliac Plaster. 

British Museum, Barber Type.

This bust was one of 17 bought at the sale of the contents of the Roubiliac studio in St Martins Lane and presented to the museum by Dr. Matthew Matey on 28th May 1762. The head is slightly less lined and the detailing is smoother, suggesting that it was not taken directly from the Barber terra cotta. There are some fairly obvious piece mould marks on face.

Piece moulds in plaster were lots 42 and 48 on the first day of the posthumous Roubiliac Sale held by Langfords 12 May 1762 at his studio in St Martins Lane.

Cleaned at the V and A in November 1951.

Pope visited the Roubiliac studio July 1741.

writing to Ralph Allen at Prior Park, Widcombe, Bath.

 "I went yesterday to the sculptors & saw the Heads, that of Milton is near finished, & the others doing. I shall take what care I can of them"

Four busts were ordered from Roubiliac including one of Sir Walter Raleigh at £20 each.

Quoted from MR Brownell - Alexander Pope and the Arts in Georgian England. Oxford, 1978.

The Poulett Bust Of Alexander Pope by Roubiliac.

11.             The Poulett Bust of Alexander Pope
              By Louis Francois Roubiliac. Circa 1740 /1.

Marble, 19.5 inches, drilled eyes, paired with a bust of Isaac Newton. Ex Collection of Lord Poulett, Hinton House, Hinton St. George, Somerset. See Wimsatt p.237 - 240. Wimsatt was not aware of these busts. If this is one of the pair with Newton in the Wiltshires Assembly rooms in  February of 1741then it is is almost certainly the first of the Roubiliac Type 3 busts of Alexander Pope based on the Barber Institute terra cotta. This would then date the Barber Institute terra cotta to 1740 or before.

Inscribed - Promissum ille sibivoluit praenoscere Caelum/ Nec novus ignotas hospes adire domus, ( adapted Ovid Fasti 3. 159-60, Concerning preparedness for the afterlife).

Sold Sotheby’s 1st Nov. 1968. £2,600. Ill. Art at Auction 1968. p.341. Paired with a bust of Newton on 18th century pedestals (socles) with Latin inscriptions.

It seems most likely that these two busts were the pair of busts mentioned as being in Wiltshire’s Assembly Rooms in Bath in 1741 and mentioned in the Gentleman's Magazine (11 February 1741) along with an epigram entitled ‘On Mr Nash’s present of his own Picture at Full Length, Fixt between the Bustos of Mr Pope and Sir Is. Newton, in the Long Room at Bath’ and shown indistinctly flanking a full length portrait of Beau Nash in a watercolour by James Vertue brother of diarist and printmaker George Virtue in the Broadly Collection Scrapbook relating to Pope and Bath at Bath Reference Library.

                    The Drawing of Wiltshire's Assembly Rooms Bath by James Vertue c. 1741.

Bought by dealer Cyril Humphries of Bond St. London, sold 1969 to Armand G. Erpf. of New York on his death in 1971, passed to his widow who became Mrs Gerrit P.van de Bovenkamp.

The Newton bust next appears without the Pope at Sothebys New York - Benjamin Sonnenberg sale, Lot 391, on 5 June, 1979, where it was bought jointly by 14, St James Place and Cyril Humphries. The Newton is now in the Collection of Lord Rothschild. July 2000.

Notes -Poulett, Vere, Earl Poulett 3rd, MP.
Born: 18 MAY 1710. Acceded: 1764 Died: 14 APR 1788
Father: Poulett, John, Earl Poulett 1st
Mother: Bertie, Bridget
Married 4 March 1755 to Butt, Mary
Child 1: Poulett, John, Earl Poulett 4th, b. 3 APR 1756
Child 2: Poulett, Vere, Lt.Gen, MP, b. 1761

Literature HINTON som Hinton St George
Poulett med C.G. Winn, The Pouletts of Hinton St George. London, [1976]. Re-modelled ca. 1800. Owned by John Poulett, Earl Poulett - J.P. Neale's Views, 2nd series vol. IV, 1828. J.B. Burke, Visitation, 2nd Series, II, 1855. 114. S. Jones, Views, 1829.
Sold Sotheby's New York 26 January 2012 to Lord Rothschild - It has now been reunited with its pair - the bust of Isaac Newton.

The Saltwood Castle bust of Alexander Pope by Roubiliac

10.                Saltwood Castle Bust of Alexander Pope
                           by Louis Francois Roubiliac.

Marble , Unsigned, Eyes Cut. Based on the Barber Institute terra cotta. Formerly in the collection Kenneth Clarke. Saltwood Castle, Hythe, Kent. Still at Saltwood April 2001. See Wimsatt.61.7, Page 254.

I have photographed this bust myself at Saltwood 12 June 2000. These are unfortunately only poor quality scans.
This is a very fine version of the Barber Terra cotta but on a turned socle. From the quality I would have no hesitation in ascribing it to Roubiliac.

I am very grateful to Jane Clark for allowing me the opportunity to visit Saltwood and inspect and photograph this bust.

This bust is possibly one of the two bust in unknown materials possibly marble and not yet formally identified which are mentioned in the mid 18th Century.

1. The Madame Boccage Bust of Alexander Pope. Busts of Pope, Dryden, Milton and Shakespeare sent with 3 others to Madame Boccage in Paris in 1751 by Lord Chesterfield.

Esdaile makes a very good case that the four busts for Mme Boccage’s garden sent to France were Roubiliac marble busts. Mrs Thrale saw them in 1775 when they were in the drawing room.

2. The Lord Bruce bust of Lord Bruce. Charles, Lord Bruce,Viscount of Tottenham, d.1747. -Tottenham Park, Wiltshire. Inventory of 14 Nov.1744. (10 poets heads on painted and gilt brackets, one ditto Mr Pope). Charles, Lord Bruce a friend of Pope, m. Lady Julianna Boyle, sister of Lord Burlington in 1720. Lord Burlington provided plans for Tottenham Park between 1730-40. (drawings at Chatsworth).

The fact that the Pope bust is noted exclusively is instructive. Although not stated as a Roubiliac marble bust, he is the most likely candidate for its authorship.

I know of no other versions by Rysbrack or Scheemakers in any material which might be this bust. Of course it could have been a plaster version by Roubiliac.

Lord Bruce’s Papers in the Aylesbury Collection at Wiltshire Record Office.

Pair of Painted and Gilded Brackets

  Height: 60.96 cm, Width: 35.56 cm, Depth: 26.67 cm
One of a pair of painted and gilded, carved wooden brackets supplied to Tottenham Park, Wiltshire prior to November 1744

Victoria and Albert Museum


The Windsor Castle Marble Bust of Alexander Pope

9. The Windsor Castle Bust of Alexander Pope.
I have not inspected this bust and the photographs available are not good. At first glance it appears to be a Roubiliac bust, of the Third Type based on the Barber Institute terracotta, but it could be a later copy.

Marble, 21.3 ins. Eyes Cut. Windsor Castle. Unsigned, fully draped, round socle, 

Barber Institute type bust.

See Wimsatt.61.5 page 252.

The socle with a collar of Marble inscribed Alexander Pope is probably an early nineteenth century replacement.

There is also at Windsor a marble bust of Lord Ligonier by Roubiliac with almost exactly the same detailing to the collar of the socle. Provenance: Presented to George IV, when Prince Regent, by the Field Marshal's granddaughter, Mrs Francis Lloyd, in 1817.

Note. The bust of Pope was brought from Carlton House to Windsor. 1828.
See - For The Kings Pleasure. Hugh Roberts. N.599 Jutsham III, Deliveries pp.179-87. Perhaps entered the Royal Collection in the mid eighteenth century. Perhaps originally supplied to Queen Carolines Library

There are no records for the entry of this bust of Pope into the Royal Collection. It is possible it came with the portrait of Lord Ligonier, (Member of Parliament for Bath 1748 - 1763) it is also possible that it arrived much earlier and was acquired by Frederick, Prince of Wales who resided in Leicester House on the North side of Leicester Fields (now Leicester Square) a stones throw from St Martins Lane.

Lord Ligonier - 
Roubiliac - 
Royal Collection.