Tuesday 25 July 2023

Bust of Linnaeus by William Rush.


The Carved Wooden Bust of (perhaps) Linnaeus 

Carl von Linn (1707 -1778).

c. 1812.

by (perhaps) American Sculptor William Rush (1756 - 1833).

sizes overall: 61.12 × 43.66 × 31.75 cm

Images and information from -


I have to express doubt as to the subject and the sculptor.

Provenance -

Private collection, New Jersey; Kendrick Scofield [d. 1955], Washington, by 1936;[1] (Leon F.S. Stark, Philadelphia); purchased June 1951 by the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington; acquired 2014 by the National Gallery of Art.

Corcoran records state that Scofield "purchased the bust from a New Jersey estate, where he found the bust on a gatepost." See also the correspondence between Kendrick Scofield and Henri Marceau of the Pennsylvania (now Philadelphia) Museum of Art, from November 1936 through January 1937 (copies in NGA curatorial files); in his letter of 16 November 1936, Kendrick writes: "The bust was found in the Southern part of New Jersey and the man who had it assumed it was a figurehead." The original correspondence is in the Registrar's files at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and copies were sent by Linda Bantel of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts to Edward Nygren of the Corcoran with her letter of 28 April 1981.

 Scofield, a reporter for Baltimore and Washington newspapers, was also a collector and antique dealer.

The perhaps fanciful attribution of the subject to Linnaeus by the collector and dealer Scofield is not confirmed by portraits of Linnaeus.


For the Rush bust of  Ben. Franklin see my blog post -