Sunday 30 December 2018

Lead Bust of John Locke attributed to John van Nost redux.

A Lead Bust of John Locke 
attributed to John van Nost.

Yale Centre for British Art.

I have already posted at great length on the busts of Locke see:

But I return to this bust after discovering a photograph of it in the house of John St Loe Strachey, the Editor and Proprietor of the Spectator, photographed in 1915.

Lead on stone base.


The bust of Locke shown in situ in the First Floor room at 14 Queen Anne's Gate, Westminster in 1915.

Home of John St Loe Strachey, Editor and Proprietor of the Spectator

Offices of Sir Clough Bertram Williams Ellis in 1919.
who had married Amabel Strachey in 1915

see The Museum by the Park, Max Bryant, pub Paul Holberton, 2017.


The van Nosts were a family of sculptors of Flemish descent. 

The eldest, John van Nost, is first recorded working at Windsor Castle, circa 1678. 

Foreman to Arnold Quellin whose widow Francis he married. She was daughter of the Landscape painter Jan Siberechts. She died in 1716.

He had his own property and yard by circa 1687 in the Haymarket, which remained in family ownership until the death of his wife in 1716 and there manufactured 'Marble and Leaden figures, Busto's and noble Vases, Marble Chimney Pieces and Curious Marble Tables'.

In the 1690's he produced life size wooden horses for the Line of Kings in the Tower of London

In 1695 he made statues of William and Mary for the Royal Exchange.

After his death in 1710, the workshop near Hyde Park Corner was continued by his cousin, also John van Nost (b.1686), possibly with his nephew, Gerard.

A sale was held on April 17, 1712 a sale of John Nost’s effects was held ‘at his late Dwelling House in Hyde-Park-Road (near the Queen’s Mead-house)’.


"A CATALOGUE OF Mr. Van NOST's COLLECTION OF Marble and Leaden Figures, Busto's and Noble Vases, Marble Chimney Pieces, and Curious Marble Tables, to be Sold by AUCTION, at his late Dwelling House in Hyde-Park-Road (near the Queen's Mead-house) on Thursday the 17th of this Instant, April, 1712, the Sale will begin exactly at Five in the Afternoon, and are to be seen Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before the Sale. N.B. As this Collection is the most Valuable that ever was Exposed to Sale in this Kingdom, a great deal of Money in making, and are of Intrinsick Value, as well in the Performance as to the Marble and Metal, there is a small price set to every thing, to be advanced on by the Buyers. The Statues are to be fetch'd away in 4 days after the Sale. Conditions of Sale as usual, and Catalogues had Gratis at the place above named."

After the sale, there was an advert in the Daily Courant, 23 April 1712 (cit. stating that the items that didn't sell were available for sale from his widow: "Whereas Mr. Van Nost's Collection of Figures and Vauses was last Week exposed to Sale, and some part of the same are unsold; this is to inform the Curious, that there are most Noble Figures and Vauses for Gardens, Curious Antique Heads proper to adorn Libraries, to be sold under the prime Cost, Mrs. Van Nost being resolved to dispose of the whole; and are to be seen at his late Dwelling-House in Hide-Park-Road, near the Queen's Mead-House; where Attendance is given."

Included in this sale were Lot 49, a bust lead of Mr Locke and  Lot 62, Dr Locke as big as the life.

Info from - Getty research -

For much more detail of the life and works of John Nost I see -

John van Nost II produced the equestrian figure of George I, now at the Barber Institute, Birmingham, another version is at Stowe.

John the second died in 1729, the business then being taken over by his widow ?

A sale of his effects held by his widow was advertised in the Guardian (No.60, 20 May, 1731) ..several extraordinary fine things"

John van Nost III assistant to Roubiliac was working in Dublin after 1748.


From An Antiquarian Ramble in the Streets of London: with Anecdotes...Vol. 1.

by John Thomas Smith, pub. 1846.

This John van Nost is obviously John Nost III (1730 - 87), who went to Ireland in about 1750.
see my posts



The reservoir in Green Park looking North to the Stone Bridge area of Portugal Row at the western end of Piccadilly, with the entrance to Half Moon Street to the left.


Horwood's map of London 1817.

This crop shows the reservoir opposite Half Moon Street.
By this time the statuary business had left the area.