Saturday 25 July 2015

Bust of Francis Smith of Warwick by Rysbrack

A terracotta bust of Francis Smith of Warwick (1672 -1738),
Builder and Architect.
signed Michael Rysbrack, dated 1741.

In Radcliffe Camera, Oxford.
Photographs Conway Library, Courtauld Institute.

Left to the trustees of the Radcliffe Camera by Francis Hiorne, architect and successor to the Smiths building practice in 1789. The relevant passage is 'to the Trustees of Dr Radcliffe's Library in Oxford the bust executed by Mr Rysbrack of the late Francis Smith one of the builders thereof, requesting they will place and continue it in the said library in the neech answerable to that wherein stands the bust of Mr Gibbs the architect' (see previous entry).


A marble bust Below has passed through the salerooms of Sotheby's - lot 278 on 7th July 1988.

Francis Smith, Architect.
Mezzotint by Alexander van Aken (1701 -57) after William Winstanley
Plate size - 35.3 x 25.0 cms.

NB. Bodleian Library (Radcliffe Camera) designed by James Gibbs in the background.

Friday 24 July 2015

Marble Busts of James Gibbs (1726) and Alexander Pope (1730) by Michael Rysbrack which had belonged to James Gibbs. A Terracotta Bust of Alexander Pope c 1758 at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

A Marble Bust of James Gibbs, (1682 – 1754).
by Michael Rysbrack.
Victoria and Albert Museum.

One of the most important and influential architects of the 18th century.
His 'Book of Architecture' published in 1728 was instrumental in publicising his architectural vision.
Inscribed on the back - 
Iac: Gibbs Arch:
Ml: Rysbrack Sculp: 1726.
Gibbs commissioned this bust, and it remained in his ownership until his death, another bust of Gibbs (below), also by Rysbrack, belonging to the Bodleian Library, Oxford, and now shown in the Radcliffe Camera, depicts the sitter in a more classicising mode, without a wig, and bare-chested. Gibbs and Rysbrack lived near one another on the Harley estate north of Oxford Street in London. They collaborated together on a number of projects, notably monuments in Westminster Abbey (designed by Gibbs, and executed by Rysbrack), and garden ornaments and sculpture for the grounds at Stowe House, Buckinghamshire.
Provenance: Presented to the Church of St Martin's in the Field by William Boore an Antique dealer and silver merchant of The Strand in 1885.
Acquired by the V and A Museum in 1989.
George Vertue states that Rysbrack was recommended to Gibbs on first coming to England in October 1720.
Vertue also suggests that the working relationship between Gibbs and Rysbrack was 'not altogether happy' Gibbs employed Rysbrack 'for his own advantage not for encouragement' and speaks of 'extravagant exactions' and goes on to say 'an unreasonable griping usage to a most ingenious artist. (in his way) far more merit than Gibbs ever will be. Mr of'. Obviously Vertue was not a great fan of Mr Gibbs.
Vertue in 1723 refers to three portraits of Gibbs a 'modeld' bust suggesting a terracotta a marble bust and basso relievo with a wig on. The terracotta and basso relievo are missing.
In 1723 Vertue refers to a terracotta bust ' Mr Jacamo or James. Gibbs Architect born at Aberdeen. ano. 1863. his head a Moddeld by Mr Rysbrack extreamly like him a bald head. cut in marble from that another basso relievo. with a wigg on.
Again later in 1723 Vertue writes 'amongst the Ingenious Artists now living I much admire Mr Rysbrack Statuary of Antwerp whose models in Clay are admirable. besides those done for monuments he has made from the life the portraits of several persons extreamly like. that of the Lord Notingham.Sr T.Hewett. Surveyor. Mr Gibbs Architect. he who from time first coming to England almost has much imployed him but always done it for his own advantage not for encouragement that the poor man has opennd his mind to me & told meof his extravagant exactions on his labour that he could not possibly live had not other business come in to help him of more proffit. an instance of this is now in the Monument of Mr Prior which he is now about.
The Busts of Gibbs and Alexander Pope from the Collection of James Gibbs.
There are two 18th and 19th century references to busts of James Gibbs which have been researched thoroughly and in depth by Gordon Balderston viz -
A fine bust of Jac. Gibbs sold by  Christie's lot 88, 27 March 1783, first noted by Rupert Gunnis in the first edition of his dictionary of British Sculptors, 1953.
A marble bust of Gibbs was sold at the Sale of Horace Walpole's Collection (from the Star Chamber) lot 99 - 13 May 1842 to Forster.
Forster is almost certainly John Forster (1812 - 76) the biographer of Charles Dickens. Forster bought widely at the Strawberry Hill sale, acting as an agent in many cases.
Gordon Balderston has written at length on Rysbrack and about the busts of James Gibbs and Alexander Pope by Rysbrack in The Georgian Group Journal vol XI - 2001.
In this attempt to give a history of the bewigged bust of James Gibbs (now in the V and A) and of  the bust of Alexander Pope by Rysbrack (NPG)  I have relied heavily on the fine detective work of Mr Balderston and cannot claim any kudos for this for myself.
Both of these busts had been put up for sale at Messrs Christie and Ansell on Thursday 27 March 1780 and the following day, by the impecunious Sir George and Lady Chalmers, who had been advised to do so by Sir William Chambers (1723 - 96).
 Lot 88 was described as 'A fine bust of Jac. Gibbs by Rysbrack', the bust of Pope was the following lot 89 which as a result of a printing error had been added, along with the next three lots to the catalogue by hand.
The Chalmers had inherited the busts from the Scottish, and Catholic painter Cosmo Alexander (1724 - 72), originally from Aberdeen, who in turn had inherited them from James Gibbs. Isabella Chalmers was Cosmo's sister.
Self portrait by Cosmo Alexander (1724 -72).
Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museum.
Oil on Canvas 76.3 x 64 cms
  Self portrait 1749 by Cosmo Alexander (1724 -72).
Showing an unfinished portrait on his easel of the Old Pretender James III
Oil on canvas 30 x 24 cms.
From the website of Philip Mould Historical Portraits.
Gibbs had died a bachelor on Monday 5th August 1754. He left the bulk of his estate, 7 houses to four of his friends, Cosmo Alexander inherited Gibb's home at 5 Henrietta St. This bequest also included the contents and the busts of Alexander Pope and James Gibbs.
'my leasehold estate in houses being six in the parish of Saint Mary le Bon and one in Argyle ground in the parish of St James Westminster...
Item I give and bequeath to Mr Cosmo Alexander my house I live in with all its furniture as it stands with pictures bustoes etc with its original lease and insurance from fire he paying the ground rent and Kings Taxes'. 
Because of his Jacobite sympathies Cosmo Alexander he was declared a wanted man after the battle of Culloden sought refuge abroad and was living in Rome from Easter 1747 until June 1751. He emigrated to America in 1766. His sister Isabella (d. 1716 April 1784) had married in Edinburgh, Sir George Chalmers another Scottish  artist, on 4 June 1768. They in turn inherited Gibbs house and contents.
The bust of Gibbs was knocked down at the sale to Horace Walpole for 7 guineas and shortly afterwards it was placed in the Star Chamber at Strawberry Hill where it remained until it was sold in the great Strawberry Hill Sale of 1842, where it was lot 99 described as 'A noble marble bust of Gibbs the architect, finely modelled and beautifully executed, on black marble pedestal, by Rysbrack'. It again fetched 7 guineas and was bought by Forster (unidentified - who also bought many other lots at the sale).
note - probably John Forster (1812 - 76) biographer of Charles Dickens. Forsters Library of over 18,000 books was bequeathed to the National Arts Library.
For a very informative overview of Forsters collecting  see -
The bust of Gibbs reappeared in 1885 when it was presented to the church of St Martin's in the Field by the silver merchant, jeweller and art dealer William Bloore (d. 1902) of the Strand.
It was sold to the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1988.
The bust of Alexander Pope was knocked down in the sale of 28 March 1783 lot 89 to Lord Vere the future 5th Duke of St Albans for £6 16s  6d. Its subsequent owner was the famous advocate William Garrow KC. PC. FRS. (1760 - 1840) - Garrow gave the bust to his friend Edward Lowth Badely (1803 - 68) a barrister and ecclesiastical lawyer who bequeathed  to the Athenaeum Club in 1868, where it remained until 1985 when it was consigned to Christie's sale rooms - it was eventually sold by private treaty to The National Portrait Gallery.
 Gordon Balderston has also written
William Thomas, Steward of the ‘Marybone’ estate Georgian Group Journal, 2004 - 05.Vol. XIV.
The Genesis of Edward Salter aetatis 6. Georgian Group Journal, 2000, Vol. X.
Giovanni Battista Guelphi: Five busts for Queen Carolines Hermitage in Richmond. Sculpture Journal, Vol 17.1, 2008. page 83.
The list of the works of Michael Rysbrack in Biographical Dictionary of Sculptors in Britain.... pub. Yale. 2009.
Al Antica Marble bust of Gibbs in the Radcliffe Camera Oxford
Dated 1726.
Photograph from Conway Library. The Courtauld Institute of Art.
James Gibbs by Andrea Soldi.
c. 1750
size 111 x 87.5cms.
Nation Gallery of Scotland.

James Gibbs c.1750.
 by John Michael Williams.
91.2 x 71.2 cms.
National Portrait Gallery.
Signed below his right shoulder in black: J. Williams Pinx., the J rather faint. On the top bar of the stretcher a stencil 24 H, and in ink on a paper on the back of the centre bar: Portrait of Gibbs, the Architect, from Mr. Sharpe's Collection / I bought from his Seat at Brockley Hill, Middx, on / the demolition of the House in [paper torn] 1830. / Thomas Sharpe Smith / 21 Nov. 18(44)—the last two figures indistinct.

The Bodleian Library possesses an almost identical picture signed and dated 1752. [1] The relationship between this and NPG 504 has yet to be clarified. The book lettered ARCHIT in our picture could be either Gibbs' A Book of Architecture, published 1728, or his Rules for Drawing the Several Parts of Architecture . . ., 1732, and the unlettered volume his drawings for the Radcliffe, published as Bibliotheca Radcliviana, 1747. The type seems to associate Gibbs with the Radcliffe building (1737-49) but it is not known whether it was painted in the early stages of the work or after its completion. The Bodleian version may have been painted as a thank-offering to the university, from whom Gibbs received an honorary MA in 1749.
Kerslake says - bought 1878, Christie's 26 July, 2nd day, lot 274 (an extra lot); purchased as recorded on the stretcher, by Thomas Sharpe Smith, 1830. In 1872 Scharf noted it at a Captain F. Harrison Smith's, Cavendish Road, London, by whom it was offered with other portraits including those of the Duke and Duchess of Richmond and Lord Grandison, all 'formerly in Mr Sharpe's collection at Brockley Hill House, Edgware'. NPG 504 is therefore presumably the 'head of Gibbs the architect' seen there, with other portraits, by Lysons who referred to Mr Sharpe, an attorney, as having been secretary to the Duke of Chandos; it was the Duke's seat at Cannons that Gibbs had rebuilt 'at vast Expence'. Though not mentioned in the inventories, the portrait may thus once have belonged to the Duke himself.
Vertue, followed by Walpole, is the sole authority for the portrait by 'Schryder', possibly G.E. Schröder, in England 1718-25. [17] A portrait in the Sir Thomas Seabright sale 1737,  and one by Dahl, Earl of Oxford sale, March 1741, 2nd day, lot 31, are now lost, as is a bust recorded in the Strawberry Hill sale, 13 May 1842 (17th day), lot 99. An undated portrait by Bartholomew Dandridge at Orleans House, Twickenham, Ionides collection, is signed with initials and probably of the 1740s. Its history is not known before 1955 and despite some resemblance to the sitter, its identity remains open.
Gibbs appears in 'Conversation of Virtuosis' by Gawen Hamilton, 1735.
All info from NPG.
Mezzotint after Hans Hysing, c. 1720.
 engraved by Peter Pelham (1697 - 175), who emigrated to America in 1728.
Sold by E. Cooper at The Three Pigeons, Bedford St.
35.6 x 25.3 cms.
He was the stepfather of John Singleton Copley.
From British Museum.
Engraving of James Gibbs after Hogarth by Bernard Baron.
 engraved by Baronnby 1747, for Gibbs' Bibliotheca Radcliviana.
Engraving by Alexander Bannerman after Hogarth.
Illustration from Horace Walpole's Anecdotes of Painting in England.
c 1762.
Engraved profile by Bernard Baron, 1736.
Headpiece from an unidentified publication.
10.1 x 13.0 cms 
Engraving from British Museum.
It is tempting to suggest that this is an engraving of the missing basso relieve by Rysbrack described by George Vertue in 1723.

The Busts of Pope by Rysbrack 
The Marble bust of Alexander Pope, photographs taken at the Exhibition at Waddesden Manor, Buckinghamshire 18th June - 26 October 2014.
My advice is not to be tempted to buy the short catalogue, it is overpriced and appears hurriedly produced and is very thin on information. This blog covers the subject of the Roubiliac Pope busts in depth and is free.
The following text is from the National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Kerslake, Early Georgian Portraits, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1977.
' Another artist whose portrait pleases posterity perhaps more than it did the sitter, is Michael Rysbrack. A fine though somewhat aloof marble  given by Sir William Garrow (1760-1840) to his executor E.L. Badeley (d.1868), who presented it to the Athenaeum is incised ALEX: POPE Poeta / M- -R-S- / 1730. [47] [Editor's note, 2014: now National Portrait Gallery.] No sittings are recorded but an undated letter, apparently written in the summer of 1725, in which directions to the sculptor's house are given by James Gibbs, Lord Oxford's architect, suggest that Pope may well have visited him. Although Rysbrack would presumably have made a model, no clay, terracotta or plaster of this date is now known. The terracotta acquired by the Fitzwilliam Museum from Spinks in 1932 is posthumous. Completed by January 1761, it is one of a number of pieces discussed in letters from the sculptor to his patron Sir Edward Littleton of Teddesley Hall, Penkridge, Stafford. [48] Some form of the bust must, however, have existed by 29 March 1729 when The Weekly Journal or the British Gazetteer tartly versified: 'REISBRANK, no longer let thy Art be shown / in forming Monsters from the Parian Stone . . .' and in November complaint was made that certain 'Gentlemen of the Dunciad' have gone so far as to 'libel an eminent sculptor for making our author's Busto in marble, at the request of Mr. Gibbs the Architect'.
A verse generally accepted as Pope's, sent by him to Lord Oxford, proclaimed: ‘ ‘Tis granted Sir: the Busto's a damn'd head / Pope is a little Elf / All he can say for't, is, He neither made / the Busto, nor himself'. [49] In 1732 George Vertue included 'Mr Alex Pope a Marble' in the list of thirty-nine items 'Modelld from the life many Nobleman Ladies & Learned men and others'.
In 1734 a Mr Gerard wrote, 'Pope ordered several Pictures and Busts of Himself, in which he would have been represented as a comely Person; but Mr. Rysbrack scorning to prostitute his Art, made a Bust so like him, that Pope returned it without paying for it'.
He quotes liberally from Wimsatt - The Portraits of Alexander Pope pub.Yale. 1965.

Given the lack of good photographs of the marble bust of Pope at the NPG
I am including photographs of the marble bust carved by Messrs Plowden and Smith to replace the bust sold by the Athenaeum Club.


Terracotta Bust of Alexander Pope in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.
This is one of eight busts of British worthies made by Rysbrack for Sir Edward Littleton, 4th Baronet (d.1812) for his new house, Teddesley Hall near Stafford (built c 1754, now demolished), when he was furnishing it.. They essentially comprised four pairs: Raleigh and Bacon, Shakespeare and Pope, Cromwell and Milton, and Newton and Locke.
Teddesley was inherited by his great nephew Edward Walhouse, who changed his name to Littleton in order to inherit the estates (but not the baronetcy). He became Baron Hatherton in 1835.
Teddesley like many country houses was requisitioned during the 2nd World War. The fifth Lord Hatherton sold most of the Littleton's remaining estates in the area in 1953, including the Hall. Being no longer required, it was demolished by the new owner in 1954
Littleton also had other examples in terracotta by Rysbrack of whom he was an important patron. Most were dispersed through Spink's, London, in 1932 by his descendant Lord Hatherton, when Sir James Caird purchased the busts of Bacon, Raleigh and Cromwell for the National Maritime Museum. Bacon was a politician, Lord Chancellor of England and an important scientific philosopher. His writings underpin the experimental empiricism by which navigation, astronomy and many other fields advanced in Britain from the late 17th century. The National Maritime Museum owns three busts out of a set of seven by Rysbrack.
Terracotta bust of Sir Walter Raleigh by Michael Rysbrack c. 1758 ex Teddesley Hall.
National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.
Terracotta Bust of Oliver Cromwell by Michael Rysbrack c. 1758. ex Teddesley Hall.
National Maritime Museum Greenwich.
Terracotta bust of Sir Francis Bacon by Michael Rysbrack c. 1758. ex Teddesley Hall.
National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.

Wednesday 22 July 2015

The Busts in the Temple of British Worthies at Stowe

Temple of British Worthies.
In the Elysian Fields at Stowe, Buckinghamshire.
Designed by William Kent and built 1734 - 5.


 Kent's Drawing


From George Bickham, The Beauties of Stow, 1756.
 From George Bickham, The Beauties of Stow, 1756.
The busts in the Temple of British Worthies.
Life Size carved in Portland Stone.
On the left are the men of contemplation on the right are the men (and woman) of action.

Alexander Pope by Peter Scheemakers.
Who uniting the Correctness of Judgement to the Fire of Genius,by the Melody & Power of his Numbers
gave Sweetness to Sense, & Grace to Philosophy.
He employ'd the pointed Brilliancy of Wit to chastise the Vices,
and the Eloquence of Poetry to exalt the Virtues of human Nature;
and being without a Rival in his own Age,
imitated and translated, with a Spirit equal to the Originals,
the best Poets of Antiquity.


Sir Thomas Gresham.
 Who by the honourable Profession of Merchant,having enrich'd himself, and his Country,
for carrying on the Commerce of the World,
built the Royal Exchange.
 Mezzotint by Faber 1714.

Thomas Gresham engraved by George Vertue. 1739.
Sir Thomas Gresham c 1655.
oil on panel 100.3 x 72.4cms
NPG acquired - Catalogued as an anonymous Dutch painter. 
This painting had been engraved for Lodges English portraits in 1823.


Inigo Jones by Michael Rysbrack.

Who, to adorn his Country,introduc'd and rival'd the Greek and Roman Architecture.


John Milton by Michael Rysbrack.

Whose sublime and unbounded Genius equal'd a Subjectthat carried him beyond the Limits of the World.
William Shakespeare

Whose excellent Genius open'd to him the whole Heart of Man,all the Mines of Fancy, all the Stores of Nature;
and gave him Power, beyond all other Writers,
to move, astonish, and delight Mankind.

John Locke by Michael Rysbrack

 Who, best of all Philosophers, understood the powers of the human mind:
the nature, end, and bounds of civil government;
and with equal courage and sagacity, refused
the slavish systems of usurped authority
over the rights, the consciences, or the reason of mankind.

Isaac Newton by Michael Rysbrack.
Whom,the God of Nature made to comprehend his Works;
and from simple Principles, to discover the Laws never known before,
and to explain the Appearance never understood,
of this Stupendous Universe.
After the Conduit Marble bust of  Newton.
Sir Francis Bacon.
 Who by the Strength and Light of a superior Genius,rejecting vain Speculation, and fallacious Theory,
taught to pursue Truth, and improve Philosophy
by a certain Method of Experiment.
Alfred the Great by Michael Rysbrack
The mildest, justest, most beneficent of Kings;who drove out the Danes, secur'd the Seas, protected Learning,
establish'd Juries, crush'd Corruption, guarded Liberty,
and was the Founder of the English Constitution.
The Stourhead version of the bust in Marble of Alfred the Great
There is a version of the Rysbrack Alfred the Great by Joseph Wilton at University College Oxford.

 The bust of King Alfred was donated to University College in 1771 by Old Member Jacob Playdell-Bouverie (1750-1828), Viscount Folkestone and later 2nd Earl of Radnor.

Prince Edward, The Black Prince by Michael Rysbrack.
The Terror of Europe, the Delight of England;who preserv'd, unalter'd, in the Height of Glory and Fortune,
his natural Gentleness and Modesty.
Terracotta bust of the Black Prince by Rysbrack.
Royal Collection.
 The Marble bust of The Black Prince by Rysbrack formerly at Warwick Castle.
Formerly Warwick Castle sold Sotheby's, London, Lot 134, 9 December 2005.
This bust was recorded in an inventory taken at Warwick Castle in 1800 as being in the State Bedroom. Katherine Eustace in the Sotheby's catalogue suggests that it might have gone to Warwick via Elizabeth Hamilton the wife of Francis Greville, Earl of Warwick (1719 -73) and goes on to suggest that it might have originally been in the Octagon in the Garden at Carlton House, Pall Mall. A voucher exists amongst the Duchy of Cornwall Papers, dated 1736 for busts of Frederick Prince of Wales, The Black Prince and King Alfred. She goes on to suggest that some kind of presentation of these semi-mythic figures from British history was intended. The Prince’s commission was, perhaps, an overt gesture in support of Richard Temple, Viscount Cobham, who had been deprived of his regiment by George II’s Prime Minister, Robert Walpole, tantamount in chivalric terms to being forbidden to bear arms.
A third possibility is a provenance to Adderbury, Oxfordshire, the house rebuilt for John Campbell, 2nd Duke of Argyll and 1st Duke of Greenwich. Argyll was a career soldier who had fought under Marlborough in the War of the Spanish Succession, and had been victorious against the Scots at Sheriffmuir in 1715. He became the first ever Field Marshal.
In the gallery at Adderbury, built in 1731, a version of the Black Prince was one of six busts by Michael Rysbrack in a programme of military heroes ancient and modern. It was probably sold from Adderbury in the 1770s.

Elizabeth I by Michael Rysbrack.

Who confounded the Projects, and destroy'd the Powerthat threaten'd to oppress the Liberties of Europe;
took off the Yoke of Ecclesiastical Tyranny;
restor'd Religion from the Corruptions of Popery;
and by a wise, moderate, and a popular Government,
gave Wealth, Security, and Respect to England.
Terracotta bust of Queen Elizabeth I by Michael Rysbrack, Royal Collection.


William III by Michael Rysbrack.

Who by his Virtue and Constancy,having saved his Country from a foreign Master,
by a bold and generous Enterprize,
preserv'd the Liberty and Religion of Great Britain.
Marble bust of William III by Michael Rysbrack

Paul Mellon Collection, Yale Center for British Art, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.
Sir Walter Raleigh.
A valiant Soldier, and an able Statesman;who endeavouring to rouze the Spirit of his Master,
for the Honour of his Country, against the Ambition of Spain,
fell a Sacrifice to the Influence of that Court,
whose Arms he had vanquish'd, and whose Designs he oppos'd.
Sir Francis Drake.

Who, through many Perils, was the first of Britonsthat adventur's to sail round the Globe;
and carried into unknown Seas and Nations;
the Knowledge and Glory of the English Name.

John Hampden. Rysbrack
 Who with great Spirit, and consummate Abilities,begun a noble Opposition to an arbitrary Court,
in Defence of the Liberties of his Country;
supported them in Parliament,
and died for them in the Field.

Sir John Barnard.
Who distinguish'd himself in Parliament by an active & firmOpposition to the pernicious and iniquitous Practice of Stock jobbing;
at the same Time exerting his utmost Abilities to encrease the Strength
of his Country by reducing the Interest of the National Debt; which
he proposed to the House of Commons in the Year 1737, and, with
the Assistance of Government, carried into Effect in the Year 1750; on
Terms of equal Justice to Particulars & to the State; notwithstanding
all the Impediments which
private Interest could oppose to publick Spirit.
Eight of these British Worthies busts were made by Michael Rysbrack for an earlier temple of Fame, designed by James Gibbs and built in 1729,  Elizabeth I, Francis Bacon, Lord Verulam, Shakespeare, John Hampden, John Milton, John Locke, Isaac Newton and William III, the other busts were made later, including those of Sir John Barnard and Pope by Peter Scheemakers for the Temple of British Worthies.

View from Gibbs Building Engraved by Jacques Rigaud.
 Cropped image from the above engraving by Jaques Rigaud (1680 - 1754).
published by Sarah Bridgeman, 12 May 1739.
Gibbs Buildings also known as The Belvidere, the Fane of Diana built in 1728.

Showing the positioning Rysbrack busts prior to the building of the Temple of British Worthies designed by William Kent.
Engraving from - Stowe Gardens in Buckinghamshire, Belonging to the Right Honourable the Lord Viscount Cobham; Laid out by Mr Bridgman, Principal Gardener to their Majesties King George I and II. Delineated in a large Plan, and Fifteen Perspective Views. Drawn on the Spot by Mons. Rigaud, and Engraved by him and Mons. Bernard Baron..., London: printed for Tho. Bowles, C. Hitch, W.H. Toms, and J. Bowles, 1746, folding eng. general plan. This set of engraved views of the gardens at Stowe are taken from drawings by the French topographical artist Jacques Rigaud. The volume was originally published in 1739 containing plates only, but was reissued in 1746 with a letterpress title-page by Sarah, widow of the garden designer Charles Bridgeman, who created Stowe landscape gardens for Lord Cobham between 1713-38.
Notes - Jacques Rigaud, sometimes incorrectly called Jean Rigaud (or identified with his nephew Jean Baptiste, as in Le Blanc's catalogue)
Engraver, specialised in topographical views after his own drawings. b. Marseilles, worked Prais. Obtained a general privilege for his oeuvre in 1728 which he published under the title 'Recueil choisi des plus belles vues des palais, châteaux et maisons royales de Paris et des environs'. Between 1733/4-6 worked in England for Bridgeman at Stowe and Burlington at Chiswick. Back in France by 1737. Often avertised in the Mercure. Bequeathed his estate to his nephew Jean Baptiste Rigaud, whom he had in effect adopted and who had worked with him for many years. Collection of views published as a corpus c.1759, and later reprinted by Basan.

Original pen and ink wash drawing by Jaques Rigaud c.1739.
37.3 x 53.5 cms
Metropolitan Museum.


 Superb Large Scale Image of the Plan of Stowe.

Birds Eye view after Etienne Duperac (1525 ish to- 1604 of the Villa d'Este with the Exedra on the right - the Inspiration for William Kent's Temple of British Worthies.


Another slightly more detailed birds eye view
after Duperac, published by Mortier in Amsterdam. c. 1560 - 75.



Another possible source is the Exedra in the Villa Mattei in Rome.
Engraving by Giusseppi Vasi, mid 18th century, with the bust of Alexander the Great.

Detail of the Exedra - Villa Mattei.

Another possible source for Kent's Temple of British Worthies is the Exedra at the Villa Benzone, Punta San Vigilio, on Lake Garda, Italy (above).