Friday 29 January 2021

Newton and Locke Plaster Statuettes by John Cheere

Post in preparation.

 A Pair of 18th century Plaster Statuettes.

In the manner of John Cheere (1709 - 87).

Sold by Auctioneers Golding Young Mawer, Lot 260, 27th January, 2021.

From the contents of Newbold Pacey Hall, Warwickshire.

53 cms and 51 cms.

I was unable to inspect these statuettes at close quarters but the figure of Newton appears to be undamaged whilst Locke has lost most of his right hand holding a quill and an obvious large chip off the base - they have been painted black at some point and have the appearance of Wedgwood basalt ware.

They do not appear to be signed

I asked them to send me better photographs in order to see the damage but given the estimate of £40 - £60 they obviously thought that it would be a waste of their time.

Normally I don't give the prices that objects make at auction, but in this case I will make an exception  -£7,500 + premium - no doubt they will see this as a success for them and their client! personally I think they should waive their commission to the seller as they failed to do their homework and should only recieve the commision on their original estimate.

Their commission to the buyer is a not inconsiderable 24% + VAT, 

not bad considering how far they got it wrong.

Fortunately I am great friends with the purchaser and will be obtaining much better photographs in due course.


For comparison

The images below from York Museum Trust have recently been added to the ArtUK website see -

On this website Locke is wrongly described as Spenser (on the same website the statuette of Spenser is wrongly described as Inigo Jones).

I have informed Art Detective and this should soon be rectified.

I have written at some length on the plaster statuary from Kirkleatham

see -

Please bear in mind this was an early post for me and I was unable to gain access to these pieces despite repeated attempts as they were in "deep store"

These statuettes (below) were originally supplied in 1749 to Chomley Turner d. 1757 for Kirkleatham Hall in Yorkshire along with busts of Matthew Prior (loosely based on the Coysevox bust on the monument in Westminster Abbey), John Dryden (after Peter Scheemakers), William Congreve, Joseph Addison, Sir Francis Bacon (after Roubiliac), Dr Samuel Clark, Dean Swift, Cicero and Horace, along with Statuettes of Rubens and van Dyck (after Rysbrack), Shakespeare (after Scheemakers), Homer, Spencer, Alexander Pope, Milton, Inigo Jones.

The Statuette of Locke at the York Art Gallery.

Bronzed with marbleised base.

Height 52 cms

It is indistinctly signed on the base of the plinth Jn. Cheere Fect 1749.

Without inspection it is impossible to tell whether this is the original paint finish but it certainly appears early

The inscription is not legible in this photograph but it is there below the panel


The Statuette of Isaac Newton

York Museum

Height 55 cms

Signed  on the column Cheere Ft 1749

One of a series of 19 busts and statuettes by John Cheere

Signature is fairly obvious below the panel of the plinth.


A Lead statuette of John Locke 

Sold Sotheby's New York, 31 Jan 2013.

Sold previously Sotheby's, London 9 Nov 1999.

No signature.

Traces of old paint, Modern Resin Base, Height 19 5/8" - 49.8cms.

Another version in plaster was listed in a 1754 letter from the Cheere to John Grimston.

Article in the Burlington Magazine Henry Cheere Sculptor and Business Man - John Cheere by MI Webb: Vol. 100, No. 665 (Aug., 1958), pp. 274-279 (6 pages).

Available online at Jstor but I cannot quite bring myself to give them $39 for the privilige of reading it.

A quick trawl of  the online search at the National Archives  reveals that Cheere wrote to Grimston from Hyde Park Corner in 1754 in relation to the supply of statues. He also corresponded with Henry Cheere in 1752 probably with reference to wall monument .put up in the church of All Saints at Beswick.

The Grimston family of Grimston Garth and Kilnwick

Info East Riding of Yorkshire Archives.


Letter to Tho[ma]s Grimston from Hen[ry] Cheere at West[minster]

Dated      2 Dec 1752

  Includes references to the Chimney peice having been put on board the London Cutter with W[illia]m Clapton Master for Hull, there being four Cases but the Monument not having been sent with it because the painter doing the Inscriptions (there being only one in town that he knows of) has been very ill

The detail on the spine of the book seen from the back suggests that the lead statue came from the same mould as the York plaster figure.


I will come back to this subject and the statuettes of John Cheere in due course.

see my blog entry for later 18th Century plaster casts of these and other figures by Parker and Harris of the Strand.

I will update this post on this blog shortly.

Wednesday 27 January 2021

Some Wedgwood busts after the originals by John Cheere including Alexander Pope

 Some Wedgwood Busts 

After the originals by John Cheere 

including a bust of Alexander Pope.

This post under construction.

Images below courtesey Sotheby's, New York.

see -


On an integral socle base, impressed lowercase Wedgwood & Bentley mark to reverse at side.

 Height 14½ in.   - 36.8 cm



on a separate socle base, the reverse of the shoulder impressed with uppercase WEDGWOOD mark, the lower body SPENSER, the underside of socle WEDGWOOD over numeral 2.


Height 15⅛ ins - 38.3 cm

 In 1769 the sculptor P. Theodore Park sent a bill to Wedgwood for modeling several statues including Spenser. A second example which had been in the collection of Frederick Rathbone is illustrated in Captain M. H. Grant, The Makers of Black Basalts, London, 1967, pl. XLIV, no. 1.


On a separate socle base, the reverse of the shoulder with impressed uppercase WEDGWOOD, letters RK, the lower edge with uppercase JOHNSON, the underside of the socle with uppercase WEDGWOOD & BENTLEY mark.


Height 17⅝ in.   - 44.7 cm


The Milton Milestone Collection of early Wedgwood Pottery, Sotheby Parke Bernet, Inc. New York, April 6, 1976, lot 217

Sotheby Parke Bernet, Inc. New York, December 1, 1977, lot 64


Another example is in the Manchester Museum, illustrated in Robin Reilly, Wedgwood, London, 1989, Vol. I, p. 455, who notes that the plaster cast was supplied by Hoskins & Grant and that the bust is first listed in the Wedgwood and Bentley catalogue of 1774 (see Reilly, 1989, Vol. II, p. 750).


On a separate socle base, the reverse of the shoulder with impressed uppercase CHAUCER, uppercase WEDGWOOD mark to lower body and underside of socle.


Height 12 in.    - 30.5 cm


 After Michiel Janszoon van Mierevelt (1566-1641), wearing a large layered ruff over a doublet, raised on a separate socle base, the reverse of the shoulder with impressed uppercase GROTIUS, over letter H., the underside of socle with uppercase WEDGWOOD & BENTLEY mark.


Height 20⅜ in. - 50.7 cm


Provenance -Sotheby Parke Bernet Inc. New York, December 1, 1977, lot 66


Literature - Gallagher, Ars Ceramica, 2019, no. 31, p. 18, fig. 9

 Gallagher, 2019, op. cit., writes that in September 1779, an order of six large busts, including a Grotius, was fulfilled for the Dutch market and which came through Wedgwood's Amsterdam agent Lambertus van Veldhuysen. A bust of Grotius is also included in Wedgwood and Bentley's 1779 trade catalogue. The source for the bust is likely the 1631 oil painting by Michiel Jansz. Van Mierevelt (1576-1641). A second bust of Grotius of this large size from the Bernheim Collection was sold at Sotheby Parke Bernet, New York, February 26, 1972, lot 116.


 On a separate socle base, the reverse of the shoulder embossed in uppercase SHAKESPEARE, and lowercase Wedgwood mark, the underside of the socle with uppercase WEDGWOOD & BENTLEY mark.


Height 19 in  - 48.2 cm

Provenance - Sotheby Parke Bernet, Inc. New York, December 1, 1977, lot 65

 In February 1774 the sculptor John Cheere supplied Wedgwood with busts of Shakespeare, Plato, Homer and Aristotle at half a guinea each, Robin Reilly, Wedgwood, London,1989, Vol I, p. 450. A bust of this larger size was sold at Sotheby Parke Bernet, Inc. New York, January 15, 1976, lot 28.


 On a separate socle base, the reverse edge of the shoulder impressed in uppercase BOYLE, traces of two further impressed BOYLE marks, the underside of the socle base impressed uppercase WEDGWOOD & BENTLEY mark.


Height 18 in.  - 45.7 cm



On a separate socle base, the reverse edge at the shoulder impressed uppercase JULIUS CAESAR, the lower edge impressed lowercase Wedgwood & Bentley mark, the socle base impressed uppercase WEDGWOOD & BENTLEY.


Height 18⅝ in.  47.4 cm

 Provenance - Sotheby's New York, October 11, 1995, lot 164


Wedgwood wrote to Bentley in February 1771: "I wrote to you in my last concerning of Busts. I suppose those at the [Royal] Academy are less hackney'd & better in General than the Plaister shop can furnish us with; besides it will sound better to say - This is from the Academy, taken from an Original... than to say, we had it from Flaxman."

 though he concluded that "we must be content to have them [the moulds] as we can, & as Oliver, as a plaister figure maker, in selling his moulds, transfers his business likewise to us he must be pd. handsomely for them.", Reilly, 1989, Vol. I, p. 450. It was apparent to Wedgwood that he could create more durable, and beautiful models than anything produced in plaster. By 1774 Josiah proclaimed he would have "a collection of the finest Heads in the Word". (Reilly, ibid, p. 456.)


 According to Robin Reilly and George Savage, The Dictionary of Wedgwood, 1980, p. 67, this bust of Caius Julius Caesar was "supplied by Hoskins & Grant [to Wedgwood in] 1779, [and] not listed in the Catalogues after that date."



 the reverse of the bust impressed HORACE, lowercase Wedgwood & Bentley, incised marks, the underside of the socle impressed uppercase WEDGWOOD AND BENTLEY.

Height 14⅜ in.  36.4 cm



 on a separate socle base, impressed lowercase Wedgwood & Bentley mark to reverse of shoulder and underside of socle, the shoulder with uppercase CICERO.


Height 10¼ in.   26 cm





 on a separate socle base, impressed uppercase SAPPHO to reverse of bust, the underside WEDGWOOD & BENTLEY.


Height 14⅝ in.   -  37.2 cm

Tuesday 26 January 2021

Henry Herbert 9th Earl of Pembroke, A terracotta Bust by Roubiliac


This post is still currently under construction.

Henry Herbert 9th Earl of Pembroke, 

A Terracotta Bust by Roubiliac.

in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

These rather indifferent photographs below were recently added to the Art UK website.

It is a great shame that these photographs are so poor - hopefully next time I an in Cambridge I will be able to see and photograph this bust myself.

Currently their website is quite difficult to navigate to unless saved to favourites. 

The socle is almost certainly a slightly later addition

nb. the spelling of Roubiliac.

Acquisition: bequeathed; 1816; Fitzwilliam, Richard, 7th Viscount.



Henry Herbert, 9th Earl of Pembroke, FRS (1693-1749/50; Countess of Pembroke, his widow; ? ; Richard, 7th Viscount Fitzwilliam of Merrion (d. 1816).


The 9th Earl of Pembroke married Mary Fitzwilliam in 1733 , sister of the 6th Viscount Fitzwilliam, whose heir, Richard, was the founder of the Fitzwilliam Museum.

 In The Life and Works of Fran├žois Roubiliac. London: Oxford University Esdaile, Katharine A.. 1928.Pressp. p. 91.  this work is not to be entirely trusted.


Ref. p. 91, note 4, says the inscription 'Roubilliac [sic] fec' is modern. 'The model passed first to the Countess's family, then to Cambridge along with the Hercules (pl: XIII b and now atrributed to Rysbrack R.A.B.) and the antique head of Agrippina with a pedestal by Roubiliac (Arnold's Library of the Fine Arts iv, 183, p. 1840).' 

The marble bust, for which this was the model, and that of the Countess are at Wilton in the church; there is another of Lord Pembroke in Wilton House, and one at the Birmingham City Museum  and Art Gallery.?? 

Mr Gunnis's records there is a bill from Roubiliac for the bust in the church

see my blog entry: -


Henry Herbert, 9th Earl of Pembroke (and 6th Earl of Montgomery), FRS.


Louis Francois Roubiliac


Circa 1749

Depicted facing to sinister; on an integral square marble socle carved with the Pembroke coat of arms and inscribed ‘VNG. GP. SERVERAY’.

Photograph courtesy Lullo Pampoulides.


24 5/8 in. (62.5 cm.) high  32¼ in. (82 cm.) high overall, including socle



Henry Herbert, 9th Earl of Pembroke, by descent to his son

Henry Herbert, 10th Earl of Pembroke;

 Placed on the monument to the 9th Earl of Pembroke in St. Mary’s Church, Wilton, Wiltshire, before 3 July, 1754 (when seen by Dr. Richard Pococke)

The bust and parts of the monument moved to the new Church of St. Mary and St. Nicholas, Wilton, Wiltshire in 1845;

Bust sold (following the grant by the church court of a faculty for removal) by

17th Earl of Pembroke (heir-at-law of the 9th Earl of Pembroke, and therefore owner of the bust) in 1997 (via Christie's) to


Professor Ian Craft, by whom sold, 2005, to

Private Collection, London.

This bust was exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, in the Sculpture in Britain Galleries since 2005.

Sold by dealers Lullo - Pampoulides to a private collector, USA.




Extract from the Christie's Sale Catalogue. Lot 83, 2nd December 1997.


Three versions of the present bust are known. The other two, one of which is paired by a bust of the Earl's wife, Mary, the eldest daugher of Richard, Viscount Fitzwilliam, are at Wilton House. Although none is signed, their attribution to Roubiliac has not been doubted since they were first discussed by Mrs. Esdaile in her monograph on the sculptor, where she also referred to a terracotta model of the bust of the Earl in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, bearing a modern inscription, 'Roubilliac [sic] fec.' (Esdaile, loc. cit.).


More recently, archival research has revealed that Roubiliac received £165 and a halfpenny in 1751 from the executors of the 9th Earl for his monument, of which the present bust formed a part (Bindman and Baker, loc. cit.).


It would appear, however, that the bust may not originally have been intended for the monument, but was more probably an independent portrait, which was subsequently enlisted for the task. It was, in any event, certainly in place as early as 3 July 1754, when it was described by Richard Pococke as having the form of 'a marble bust as against a pyramid' (Pococke, loc. cit.).


The original form of the monument was considerably modified when it was transferred from the chancel of the old medieval church at Wilton in 1845 to its present location in the new church.


The bust has now been replaced by a replica.

Here are some snaps of this bust taken by the author at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

It is my guess that this bust might have spent some time outdoors and has suffered some weathering.

The flesh of the face and the robe have at some point been repolished (to my eye over polished) and then a wax applied which has given the surface a sort of shiny quality 

For this marble bust of Pembroke by Roubiliac formerly on the monument in the church of St Mary and St Nicholas at Wilton sold at Christies lot 83 2nd December 1997.



There was originally a marble pyramid and urn on the monument at one time which has since disappeared - probably when the medieval church was remodelled in 1845. It was perhaps at this period that it spent some time outdoors.

see -


The Bust of the 9th Earl of Pembroke at Wilton House.

and Mary Fitzwilliam Countess of Pembroke.


Currently no good close up photographs available - I hope to rectify this in due course.

Photographs below are courtesy Country Life Archives.

The Busts of Andrew Fountaine and Martin Folkes by Roubiliac at Wilton House.


Left foreground - Roubiliac's bust of Henry Herbert


William Shakespeare.

Portland stone.

Peter Scheemakers.

All being well I will be visiting Wilton House shortly to obtain my own photographs of the portrait sculpture.

see my blog post.

Images courtesy.

Country Life Picture Library.


Busts of Leland and Linacre at All Souls Oxford

The Plaster and Terracotta Busts of Leland and Linaker/Linacre originally in the Hall at All Souls College, Oxford University.

The plaster bust (one of 23) of Linacre on the bookcases in the former Codrington Library supplied by John Cheere in 1750.

The second and far superior terracotta bust of Linacre here suggested as sculpted by Roubiliac.

and the missing bust of Leland seen in the engravings (below) also suggested as by Roubiliac.

It had recently come to my attention via the Art UK website that I had missed the bust of Thomas Linacre at All Souls when I visited in order to photograph the 23 Cheere busts in the Codrington Library, and the busts of Archbishop Chichele and Nicholas Hawksmore by Roubiliac, annoyingly neither the existence of the second and far superior bust of Linacre, the plaster bust of Chichele or that of Giles Bennett had been pointed out to me - had I been aware I would have taken photographs of these busts myself.

This bust of Linacre was not in the library at the time of my visit - I also missed the bust of Giles Bennett and Nicolas Hawksmoor which are still in the Buttery at all Souls.

I am very grateful to Gaye Morgan, Librarian at All Souls for her help in putting together this essay and others on the portrait sculpture at All Souls.


For a good overview of the portrait sculpture at All Souls see my previous post -

and the individual posts for each of the 24 busts and the matching set of urns.

In 1750, twenty-five bronze vases and twenty-four bronze 'bustoes' of college worthies were ordered from Cheere to decorate the top of the shelves.

Versions of these urns/vases are at Lydiard House, nr Swindon along with a group of classical plaster busts supplied by John Cheere.


Thomas Linacre (c.1503 - 52).

Painted terracotta.

 Measurements  H 55.9 cm.

It has been suggested (in wikipeadia) that these two busts are by Roubiliac and certainly the quality of the bust of Linacre could point to him as creator.

Certainly put up prior to 1767 and given that the plaster bust of Linacre by John Cheere which is an inferior version of this bust was put up in 1750 - I would suggest that it was sculpted pre 1750.

The marble bust of Chichele is signed and dated 1751 but the plaster bust was perhaps taken from an earlier terracotta 

Photographs above  credited to All Souls College Oxford, 

Courtesy Art UK website

Thomas Linacre was a Fellow of All Souls from 1484 until 1493. He became the first President of the College of Physicians founding lectureships in medicine at both Oxford and Cambridge. 

This historical bust was originally in the Hall with a corresponding bust of the Antiquarian John Leland, now missing, an engraving of which was published in W. Huddersford's 'Life of Leland' in 1772. Another portrait bust of Linacre by John Cheere is amongst the twenty-three in the Codrington Library.

These busts of Linacre and Leland are mentioned as being in the hall on the chimneypiece flanking the bust of Chichele by Roubiliac in The English Connoisseur: Containing an Account of Whatever is Curious in Painting Sculpture etc ...By Thomas Martyn published 1767. Volume II page 29


The Plaster Busts of Linacre

 Supplied by John Cheere 

in what was until recently called the Codrington Library, All Souls College Oxford.

Height 55 cms.

The bust on the bookcase closely resembles the bust above but is obviously by a less skilled sculptor 

either by John Cheere or a workman in the yard at Hyde Park Corner 

One of a set of twenty three plaster busts of Fellows of the College which were commissioned from John Cheere and put up in 1750 at the cost of £195 15s following the order and selection of Sir William Blackstone. A few of them are based on contemporary portraits.


Thomas Linacre

Black chalk, graphite, with highlights and red chalk on face and hands

17th? Century 

347 x 208 mm.

British Museum

Annotated in pen in brown ink below drawing -

"Thomas Linacre professeur en medecine a son Isle Anglaise, homme certes docte aus deux langues, Grecqs et Latine, ayant copose plusieurs doctes liures, mourat a Lodres Lan de nee seigr." On verso in pencil "

D. Lincoln in letter of Oct. 28, 1949 suggests that this drawing is by the same hand as the original studies for the engravings in Theret's 'Hommes Illustre' 1584, which are in an interleaved copy of the work in the Bibliotheque Nationale".

Bequeathed to the BM by: Clayton Mordaunt Cracherode (on verso in ink Cracherode's monogram and date 1778).

see -

Thomas Linacre

Etching pub 1794 of the Cracherode drawing above

114 x 97 mm.


Bust of Leland. 

in the Refectory at All Souls.

engraving from Huddersfield's Life.


Grignion (1721 - 1810).

The conformation of the Socle should be noted 

(as that on the bust of Linacre).


John Leland published by William Richardson.

line engraving, published June 1796.

7 1/2 in. x 5 1/8 in. (191 mm x 129 mm) 

See my previous post for an in depth look at the Codrington Library Statuary at All Souls College Oxford University:


Archbishop Chichele


The grey painted plaster and marble busts of Archbishop Chichele for comparison.

The grey painted version might well have been subject to some damage which would explain the thick overpainting.

It would be a very interesting exercise to remove the overpainting on this bust.

The socle or support of the plaster has been copied from that of the marble but there remains some of the original socle which follows that of the busts of Linacre and Leland.

At first glance the appear to be the same but close inspection reveals some differences. 

Roubiliac's masterful depiction of the fur on the dress of the marble is missing on the plaster.

Nicholas Hawksmoor


Life Size Plaster

Height 54.6

Buttery, All Souls College, Oxford 

Photograph All Souls from Art UK Website.

The architect Nicholas Hawksmoor was apprenticed to Christopher Wren and was employed in the construction of the Chelsea Hospital between 1687 and 1689, St Paul's from 1691 to 1712 and at the Greenwich Hospital in 1705. 

For the last fifteen years of his life he was responsible for the designs for the redevelopment of All Souls and was the architect of the formerlay called Codrington Library, the Buttery, the North Quadrangle and the Hall, all built between 1716 and 1740.This bust is the only known likeness of Hawksmoor. The  bronze cast  was given by the Warden and Fellows of All Souls in 1962 to the National Portrait Gallery in London.