Tuesday 9 February 2021

Bust of a Moor by Francis Harwood

this post under construction

 Bust of a Moor 

Attributed to Francis Harwood

Patinated Plaster.

Height 65 cms

A recent discovery

sold by - Auctioneers Pandolfini Casa d'Aste, Florence, 

Italy Lot 101on June 30, 2020.

In the absence of high resolution photographs - it would appear that this bust is the prototype for the two busts below but at this point I cannot be 100% sure - the scar on the forehead is not visible and there are real differences in the hair.

What to me is plainly obvious to me is that this bust has been taken from life - the closed eyes suggest that a mould was created around the head and shoulders of the model and a cast then taken.

In order to make the marble busts the eyes would have had to be remodelled and carved but the bust and the rest of the head could be relatively easily transferred to the marble with the aid of a pointing machine.

It is my belief that Roubiliac would have used this method on more than one occasion.


I have written about Harwoods sculpture previously in my post



Bust of a Black Man

 Studio of ? Francis Harwood.

 c. 1758.

Black limestone (pietra di paragone) on a yellow Siena marble socle.


Overall: 28 × 20 × 10 1/2 inches (71.1 × 50.8 × 26.7 cm


Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection


The centre website is rather vague on the provenance of this remarkable bust.


Before Paul Mellon bought it in 1967, the Yale bust had been part of the Esterhazy Collection in Vienna, where it was misattributed to the Renaissance artist Alessandro Vittoria (1525–1608) and called “The Blackamoor”, and in 2006 it became part of the Yale Center for British Art collection.

Excellent images Courtesey


In my previous post I wrote

"This remarkable bust may be a portrait: details such as the small scar on the man’s forehead and the subtle depressions in the skin around his temples, nose, and eyes suggest close study of an individual sitter. However, the sculptor Francis Harwood, who was based in Italy, specialized in making copies of classical statues for sale to English Grand Tourists, and so it is also possible that this is a copy or adaptation of an Antique model."


"A third possibility is that the bust was made as an allegorical image of “Africa.” A passage from Joseph Baretti’s "Guide through the Royal Academy" (London, 1781) suggests that, by 1781, Harwood’s "Bust of a Man"—or something very similar—had entered the cast and sculpture collection of the Royal Academy. Though we cannot be sure that Baretti is referring to the sculpture on display here, his description suggests that works like it may have been difficult to categorize even in the eighteenth century: AFRICUS.


"For want of a better, I give this name to a Head of a Blackamoor, which is in the Niche of this Room.


A Friend of mine would have it called Boccar, or Boccor, an African King named in one of Juvenal’s Satires. But, as it has no ensigns of Royalty about it, I imagine it to be a Portrait of some Slave, if not a fanciful performance intended to characterise the general Look of the African faces.


Whatever it be, I think it a fine thing of the kind".


In the nineteenth century, Harwood’s bust was mistakenly believed to be a portrait of an athlete named Psyche in the service of the first Duke of Northumberland".


Another version of this sculpture, which bears Harwood’s signature and the date 1758, is now at the J. Paul Getty Museum.


Text above lifted from the Yale Centre for British Art  website

In light of the appearence of the plaster bust it would seem some of this needs to be reappraised


For several interesting articles on the Harwood busts see:

Photographs of the two busts shown here side by side for comparison.


The details of the ear make it clear that these busts are of the same man.


It would seem fairly obvious to me that the detail of the new scar on the forehead would suggest that the Yale bust is the original and that the Getty bust is a later version.


The scar on the Yale bust clearly shows the stitch marks which have healed over in the Getty bust.

the hair on the Yale bust has much deeper drilling and the curls are much more defined.


The early history and provenance of both of these busts is unclear.


It has been suggested that the date on the Getty bust has been recut, but the inscribed signature is close to that on other busts such as the Sotheby's Caracalla.


The date of 1758 on the Getty busts implies that it was sculpted in Italy.


Bust of A Man

 Francis Harwood

 inscribed 1758

 Black stone (pietra di paragone) on a yellow Siena marble socle


at the J Paul Getty Museum


see also, for a rather verbose article on the two busts:


The surface of this bust has undergone at least one program of restoration - the Getty "conservation work and analysis shows that the bust’s original, eighteenth-century coating was a medium, translucent brown. 

In fact, conservators have in recent years removed much of the thickly applied black paint, wax, and shellac that had been applied to the bust in the 1980s, in an attempt to bring the surface colour closer to the varied texture and tone of the underlying marble".



"With noble bearing, this man proudly holds his chin high above his powerful chest. Sculptor Francis Harwood chose a black stone to reproduce the sitter's skin tone. Harwood also chose an unusual antique format for the bust, terminating it in a wide arc below the man's pectoral muscles. Harwood was familiar with antique sculptures from time spent in Florence reproducing and copying them. He may have deliberately used this elegant, rounded termination, which includes the entire, unclothed chest and shoulders, to evoke associations with ancient busts of notable men. Although the identity of the sitter is unknown, the scar on his face suggests that this is a portrait of a specific individual. This work may be one of the earliest sculpted portraits of a Black individual by a European".





 1758 - 1786:    possibly Hugh Percy, first Duke of Northumberland, English, 1714 - 1786, possibly commissioned by him from the artist, possibly by inheritance to his son, Hugh Percy.


1786 - 1817:    possibly Hugh Percy, second duke of Northumberland, English, 1742 - 1817, possibly by inheritance to his son, Hugh Percy.


1817 - 1847:    possibly Hugh Percy, third duke of Northumberland, English, 1785 - 1847, possibly by inheritance to his brother, Algernon Percy.


1847 - 1865: Algernon Percy, Fourth duke of Northumberland, English, 1792 - 1865 (Stanwick Hall, Yorkshire, England)

Described in the 1865 after-death inventory of Stanwick Hall as "a fine bust in black marble - W. Richmond the pugilist - on Italian Marble Plinth."


1865 - 1922

Percy Family, English (Stanwick Hall, Yorkshire, England) [sold, Anderson and Garland, Stanwick Hall, Yorkshire, May (no day), 1922, lot 189]    -  description of lot 189 as "A Carved Black Marble Bust of a Negro, 27 in. high, by F. Harwood, on circular Sienna marble plinth and wood pedestal, 4ft, high (in the margin in black inck is indicated the amount of 2.10 pounds)


Before 1987  Private Collection (England) [sold, Christie's, London, April 9, 1987, lot 83 to Cyril Humphris]


1987 - 1988 - Cyril Humphris, S.A. (London, England), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1988.

Terracotta bust of Oliver Cromwell perhaps after Bernini

  Oliver Cromwell 

A Terracotta Bust

It has been suggested that the original bust in the Bargello was modelled from a death mak by Bernini.

Supposedly reproduced from a death mask - where is his beard???

H 39 x W 24.3 x D 24.2 cm

Sidney Sussex College, University of Cambridge.

Photographs and details of this bust were recently added to the Art UK sculpture database website

see -  https://artuk.org/discover/artworks/oliver-cromwell-15991658-268501

A gift from Professor Thomas Martyn, 1801.

From the collection's object label: 

'Bought by Thomas Martyn in 1797 from Mr. White, a bookseller of Fleet Street who acquired it at a sale of unclaimed goods at the Custom House and who thought it to have been copied from the bust in the Palazzo Vecchio, which was executed by Bernini from a death mask'.

I have already written a substantial amount on the iconography of Oliver Cromwell

see my blog post below on my parallel blog and 23 further posts between November 2018 and June 2019


There are many versions of the Oliver Cromwell death mask - a subject I do not intend to go into here but suffice to say they all have beards!!

For a very short video about the head of Cromwell see -



The Head of Oliver Cromwell.

Terracotta? with Glass Eyes.in the Bargello Museum, Florence.

Supposedly in the museum since 1738

 Photograph courtesey

 Parliamentary Archives: GB-061

Catalogue Reference:


Former Archival Reference:

House of Commons Library Ms 111, Box 14, Photograph 10



Illustration above from


 by David Piper 

Walpole Soc Journal 1952 - 54.


Image of the Bargello head above from



From the funeral Effigies of Westminster Abbey by Anthony Harvey, ‎Richard Mortimer · pub 2003


Oliver Cromwell.

Bust in the possession of the Duke of Grafton


by John Keyse Sherwin (1751 - 1790).


Stipple engraving,

late 18th century

7 in. x 5 3/8 in. (177 mm x 138 mm) paper size.

 National Portrait Gallery.


 There is a letter from Horace Walpole to the Earl of Hartford - 5 October 1764, mentioning a bust of Cromwell at the Duke of Grafton's, which certainly refers to this bust.


The bust was some time at Wakefield Lodge, Pottersbury, Towcestere, Northamptonshire. Originally built by John Claypole, the son in law of Oliver Cromwell. Acquired from the Crown in 1712 - the Duke of Grafton rebuilt it in 1749 (it was mostly demolished in 1949 - a wing by William Kent survives).


In 1785 the bust was in the Piccadilly town house of the Duke of Grafton and is described in Memoirs of the Protectoral-House of Cromwell by Mark Noble, published in 1785, (pages 303 and 304) -  as being of plaster, coloured to represent brass, an exact likeness of the bust in Florence.



Plaster Cast

Height 277 mm.

Provenance H. Hubert Cust, from whom purchased 1899.

National Portrait Gallery.

info below from the NPG

Another of these casts was sold by Sotheby's New York, 10 January 1995, lot 67.

From the painted gesso bust with glass eyes in the Bargello, Florence; a version belonging to the Duke of Grafton was engr. J. K. Sherwin c.1780, another sold Sotheby’s NY, 10 January 1995, lot 67.


1) K. Pearson & G. K. Morant, ‘Portraiture of Oliver Cromwell’, Biometrica, XXVI, 1935, pp 92-93; D. Piper, ‘The contemporary Portraits of Oliver Cromwell’, Wal. Soc., XXIV, 1958, no.13, pl.xiii; exh. Firenze e l’Inghilterra, 1971, no.19.


K. Pearson & G. K. Morant, ‘Portraiture of Oliver Cromwell’, Biometrica, XXVI, 1935, pls.lxxxii,lxxxiii.

 D. Piper, ‘The contemporary Portraits of Oliver Cromwell’, Wal. Soc., XXIV, 1958, no.13.

 D. Piper, Catalogue of the Seventeenth Century Portraits in the National Portrait Gallery 1625-1714, 1963, p 95.


Horace Wilkinson

For the so called Wilkinson head of Cromwell interred at the Sidney Sussex College in 1960 

see the sceptical post 


The Portraiture of Oliver Cromwell With Special Reference To The Wilkinson Head

Karl Pearson and G M Moran Published by London - Biometrika Office, 1935

Is a  scarce work on Oliver Cromwell and authenticity of the Wilkinson Head. With 107 plates. Following the death of Oliver Cromwell on 3 September 1658, he was given a public funeral at Westminster Abbey, equal to those of monarchs before him. When the monarchy was re-established and King Charles II, who was living in exile, was recalled, Charles' new parliament ordered the disinterment of Cromwell's body from Westminster Abbey and the disinterment of other regicides John Bradshaw and Henry Ireton, for a posthumous execution at Tyburn. The heads of the traitors were placed on spikes above Westminster Hall and, after a storm in 1685, the head was removed and passd through various collectors and museum owners with some controversy. 

after spending 28 years on the spike it disappeared only to reappear exhibited in a private museum in London, owned by a Swiss-French collector named Claudius Du Puy.

 In 1795 James Cox, a goldsmith and clockmaker, secured the head from Samuel Russell in repayment for a debt.

 In 1799 Cox sold the head to the Hughes brothers who purchased the head intending to display it in an exhibition of Cromwell artefacts. The exhibition failed to make a profit.

Josia Henry Wilkinson purchased the head in 1815, and for the next century there was some back and forth as to whether it was the true head of Cromwell. Scientific and archaeological analysis was carried out to prove the identity. Inconclusive tests culminated in a detailed scientific study by Karl Pearson and Geoffrey Morant, which concluded, based on a study of the head and other evidence, that there was a 'moral certainty' that the head belonged to Oliver Cromwell.

The gruesome illustrations below from this publication


1799 Publicity for "Cromwells'" Head
exhibited in Mead Court in Old Bond Street.


The Gounter Nicoll Monument, Racton, West Sussex and theThomas Missing Monument Crofton and Stubbington, Hampshire


Bust of Charles Gounter Nicoll (1704 - 33)

The Gounter Nicoll Monument, 

St Peters Church, Racton, West Sussex.

and the Thomas Missing Monument

St Edmunds Church, Crofton and Stubbington, Hampshire

Here attributed to Louis Francois Roubiliac.

I had briefly  posted some time ago on the subject of this bust in 


This post was prompted by my discovery of the online article by Dr Clive Easter

The Three Gunter family monuments at Racton, West Sussex

published in

Sussex ArchaelogicalL Collections 156 (2018), 147–158

see - https://www.academia.edu/39333654/Three_Gunter_family_monuments_at_Racton_West_Sussex

It has been suggested that the monument was made ? by Henry Cheere with the bust subcontracted to Louis Francois Roubiliac

Matthew Craske in The Silent Rhetoric .... his excellent work on 18th Century Church monuments suggested the work of Roubiliac on the Thomas Missing bust and I concur - particularly as we now have some reasonable photographs to compare the two busts


For the thorny question of its removal for safekeeping? to the home of Sir Michael Hamilton,Lord Dartmouth and substitution with a resin replica see -

The report and conclusions of the Chichester Consistory Court


The bust was removed and conserved and a cast taken of it by Messrs Plowden and Smith in the late 1990's.

It was intended to replace the original with a resin cast payed for by Sir Michael Hamilton, a distant relative

It has since been replaced in its original position, with I believe a stainless steel dowel fixing it firmly to the sarcophagus.


Charles Gounter Nicoll, was baptised on 7 October 1704, the eldest son of George Gounter, MP of Racton, and his wife Judith Nicoll, daughter of Richard Nicoll of Norbiton Place, Surrey. His grandfather, Colonel George Gounter, helped Charles II to escape from England after the battle of Worcester. Gounter succeeded his father to Racton in 1718. He matriculated at New College, Oxford on 4 April 1722, aged 17. 

In 1726, he changed his name by an Act of Parliament, adopting the surname of Nicoll, according to the deed of settlement of William Nicoll. He married Elizabeth Blundell, daughter of William Blundell of Basingstoke, Hampshire, whose mother Alice Blunden was the alleged victim of a notorious premature burial.


Gounter Nicoll was returned as Member of Parliament for Peterborough at a by-election on 29 January 1729. He voted with the government and was knighted as Knight of the Order of the Bath on 30 June 1732.

Gounter Nicoll died on 24 November 1733, having had two daughters Elizabeth, and Frances Catherine and was buried in St Peter's Church in Racton. His widow prosecuted a journalist, soon after her husband's death, for defaming him for accepting KB. 

The cost of the prosecution was met from secret service funds. In 1735 she married Lord Lindsey, 3rd Duke of Ancaster with £70,000. Gounter Nicoll's daughter Frances Catherine married William Legge, 2nd Earl of Dartmouth with £100,000 in 1755.

This info needs checking - from Wikipedia

The photographs here provided by Dr Clive Easter

I am very grateful to him for kindly responding to my recent request for photographs.


For comparison


The design of this monument is based on plate CXVII from A Book of Architecture by James Gibbs pub 1728.


The Thomas Missing Monument

Bust of Thomas Missing 

The Marble Bust on the Monument.

Holy Rood Church, Crofton and Stubbington, Hampshire.

 Formerly Crofton.




Thomas Missing built the south transept of the church in 1725 to accommodate his family pews and mausoleum. He was MP for Southampton and the merchant responsible for victualling Gibraltar. He was presumably responsible for the shaped gable and segmental windows to the south transept shown in a mid C19 illustration in the National Monuments Record.

A cursory inspection (given the poor quality of this photograph) suggests to me that the clothing on these two busts are the same.

In my experience Louis Francois Roubiliac was the only sculptor who reused the clothing from his prototypes on other busts - good examples of this are the bust of  George Streatfield, Jonathan Tyers and John Ray and the busts of Hawksmoor at All Souls Oxford and that on the Monument to William Wither. d.1732 in Wootton St Lawrence Church, Hampshire which also both use the same almost baroque drapery.

see - 


This suggests to me that Roubiliac used some sort of fairly sophisticated pointing machine to transfer from the original terracottas

Thomas Missing was made freeman and alderman of Southampton in January 1711. 

In March 1715 he obtained a lucrative contract for victualling the garrison at Gibraltar, which he held till his death.1 Five years later he was given similar contracts for troops in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.2 Returned, presumably as a Whig, for Southampton in 1722, he was defeated in 1727. In September 1728 he proposed to the board of Trade that ‘as he hath a correspondence that way and hath with reputation carried over a great many to America’, he should be engaged to transport yearly a number of Protestant Palatines to Carolina ‘and victual them till they can support themselves’  He died 6 July 1733.



Here be the Remains  /  Of the Honourable Sr. CHARLES GOUNTER NICOLL  /  Knight of the most Honourable Order of the Bath;  /  Descended from a long Train of Ancestors  / Fam’d for their Religion, Loyalty and Virtue,  /   He had all the Qualifications  /  Of a compleat and accomplishe’d Gentleman, /  Amiable in his Person,  /  Gracefull in his Address. /  In Private,  /  He was easy, affable, condescending’  /  In Publick,  /  He was steady, uniform consistent;  /  Favour’d by this Prince,  /  And a Friend to his Country.  /  In this distinguish’d Situation, /  Esteem’d, belov’d and honour’d, /  He died the 24th Day of November 1733  /  In the 30th Year of his Age.

Photographs here kindly provided by David Dawson Taylor of the Friends of Crofton Old Church.



For Roubiliacs repeated use of  similar drapery on busts see -

See - http://bathartandarchitecture.blogspot.com/2018/05/the-portrait-sculpture-in-codrington_14.html