Sunday, 16 October 2016

Unknown Man attributed to John van Nost III, Louvre, Paris

Bust of an Unknown Man,
attributed to John van Nost III,
Louvre, Paris.
734 mm tall.
Formerly attributed to Louis-Fran├žois de Roubiliac (1702 -1762), as Sir Edward Walpole (1706-1784).
Acquired by the Louvre with an hypothetic attribution to Henry Cheere.
Attributed in 1992 by Malcom Baker to John Van Nost III and dated circa 1750.
I am doubtful.
Collection F. Leverton Harris; sale, London, Christie's, Manson and Woods, 7th June 1928, n°42
Acquired by Stettmer
Collection the dealer Camoin, Paris, 
Acquired by the Louvre 1989.
The Louvre website is not great for images of 3 dimensional objects.
This bust could be by one of several sculptors - it shows some similarities with a bust of George Pitt by Henry Cheere in the Victoria and Albert Museum particularly the fluttering tie on the shirt.
It has for a log time been my suspicion that although Henry Cheere signed many sculptures, he might not have been the actual author of all of them - giving the work to men working in his workshop or subcontracting it. Given that we know very little of what Roubiliac did between his arrival in London in 1730 and his first mention as an independent sculptor (Senesino in a newspaper in 1735).
It might be that Mrs Esdaile was correct after all ascribing this bust to Roubiliac.
(Sir) Henry Cheere and his sculpture and sub contracting is a subject that I might approach in the future. Matthew Craske has already published on the subject in both The Silent Rhetoric of the Body pub Yale 2007 and inThe Lustrous Trade ed Cinza Sica
Photographs from the Louvre
Photograph of the above bust identified as Sir Edward Walpole
from Roubiliac by Mrs Esdaile, pub in 1929.
Marble bust of George Pitt.
by Henry Cheere (1703 - 81).
1738 - 41.
Victoria and Albert Museum.
I post this for comparison with the Louvre bust.
The V and A say -
"This is a finer version of the portrait on the monument to George Pitt at Stinsford in Dorset, and was probably executed for Enscombe House where Pitt's widow and son lived. Between August 1738 and April 1741 Pitt's widow made three paymounts, amounting to £146.8.0, to Henry Cheere....."
"Historical significance: This is among the earliest of English Rococo busts, the decorative effect of the shirt front and the fluttering tie are particularly notable. A similar drapery style may be seen in Cheere's figure of Sir Thomas Hardy at Westminster Abbey (ca. 1740) and the bust of Sir Orlando Humphreys (died 1736) at Barking"
Another version of this bust is on the monument to George Pitt at Stinsford, Dorset, and the marble shown here was probably carved at the same date for the family's house. The bust was said to have been 'executed from a model made after his death from recollections by his son John Pitt', a distinguished amateur architect, and shows George Pitt in the informal dress that was being used frequently by this date for both painted and sculptural portraits.

Friday, 14 October 2016

Bust of William Maple by Patrick Cunningham RDS

A Marble Bust of William Maple ( 1679 - 1762). 
by Patrick Cunningham (d.1774)
signed and dated 1763.
First Registrar of the Dublin Society  (1731 - 62),
Honarary Secretary 1751 - 62.
Chemistry demonstrator at Trinity College Dublin and Keeper of the Irish Parliament House.
Photographs taken by the author 4 October 2016.
with grateful thanks to Gerard Whelan and the RDS.
Cunningham was taken on as an apprentice by John van Nost in May 1750.
John van Nost III is first mentioned in the Society's papers in 1749 when he as living in Jervis Street where he exhibited models in plaster.
From Dictionary of Irish Artists pub 1913.
Patrick Cunninghan was the son of a wine-cooper in Dublin who having drawn a prize in a lottery started as a wine merchant, but did not succeed. Left unprovided for, and showing a talent for drawing, Patrick Cunningham was placed by the Dublin Society in Robert West's drawing school in George's Lane, where he was a prize-winner in 1748.
The Society apprenticed him to Van Nost, the sculptor, and he was awarded in 1754 a premium of five pounds. In 1756, when in the last year of his apprenticeship, he applied to the Society for assistance, setting forth that he was "bare of clothes and linen," and he was given five pounds to replenish his wardrobe. In 1758 he did figures of a "Roman Slave," a "Venus," and a "Dolphin" for the Dublin Society, and under its patronage he started for himself in William Street. In an advertisement he says that he has "opened a yard and shop in William Street, where he undertakes all manner of statuary work in clay, marble, brass, lead or plaster of Paris. As he is the first native that has been bred to that business he humbly hopes for the favour of the Public" ("Faulkner's Journal," August, 1758).
In 1760 he produced an equestrian statue of "George II," for which the Dublin Society granted him ten guineas. In 1764 the Society ordered that a certificate be given to him that he had been bred up to the art of statuary under the care of the Society, that he had been adjudged several premiums, and that they were well acquainted with, and had a good opinion of, his skill and execution.
In 1765 he designed a monument to Swift, which it was proposed to erect in College Green, and exhibited it at the Society of Artists in George's Lane, as well as a marble bust of "Dean Delany," and a statue of The Farnesian Hercules." In the following year he contributed to the exhibition a marble "Bust of Dean Swift." This bust he did for George Faulkner, the publisher, who had it in his house in Parliament Street, where it stood on a bracket in a bow window looking towards Essex Bridge. It remained in Faulkner's possession until his death, and in 1776 was presented by his nephew, Thomas Todd Faulkner, to the Dean and Chapter of St. Patrick's. It is now in the South aisle of the Cathedral. To the same exhibition in 1776 Cunningham also sent two busts in terra cotta and "Portraits modelled in coloured wax."
John O'Keeffe, in his "Recollections," tells us that Cunningham "invented the small basso-relievo portraits in wax of the natural colours. They had oval frames and convex crystal glasses and were in great fashion." Probably the success of these portraits induced him to confine himself chiefly to them, for in 1766, being then in College Green, he issued an advertisement informing the public that he "being determined to quit the casting business will sell by auction at his shop in College Green on Monday next, the 3rd March, 1766, his collection of figures, busts, vases, moulds, etc., consisting of the 'Farnese Hercules,' 'Venus de Medicis,' and 'The Sportsman,' all as large as life; antique busts of Roman Emperors and Poets, with several modern busts, vases, academy and other figures" ("Faulkner's Journal," 1st March, 1766). He then moved to Capel Street, and sent portraits in coloured wax to the exhibitions of the Society of Artists in William Street in 1767 and 1768. He also contributed to the exhibitions in 1769 and 1770 when he was living in Fleet Street. In 1772 he married a Miss Austin, of Abbey Street, and leaving Dublin, he settled in London. The year after his arrival he sent nine portraits and figures in wax and a bust in clay to the exhibition of the Society of Artists. This was the only occasion that he exhibited his work in London, for he died in December, 1774, at Paddington.
Cunningham was reputed the best wax-modeller of his day, but his works are now quite unknown. In noticing his death the "Hibernian Journal" (14-16th December, 1774) says: "He was a man of great fancy and imagination in architecture, statuary and waxwork, in the latter of which he excelled any in Europe, as may be seen by many of his performances." Besides the works already mentioned Cunningham did a bust of "Dr. Lawson" for Trinity College, for which he was paid £34 2s. 6d. in 1759. This is now in the Library. He also executed a bust of "William Maple" for the Dublin Society and a metal bust of "Frederick, King of Prussia." This bust was placed in a niche on a house in Prussia Street in March, 1760, when "Cabragh Lane" was changed to "Prussia Street." Beneath it was a black marble slab with "Prussia Street" in gilt letters.
John Cunningham, poet and dramatist, born in 1729, was the sculptor's youngest brother.
see also a brief mention of Cunningham and van Nost in John O'Keeffe Recollections 1826

Marble bust of Samuel Madden by John van Nost III

The Marble bust of Samuel Molyneux Madden (1688 - 1765).
Co Founder of the Dublin Society with Thomas Prior.
Commonly called 'Premium' Madden
John van Nost III (fl. Dublin 1750 - 87).
Commissioned by the Society in 1751.
29" tall.
RDS (Royal Dublin Society).
Dr Madden established a system of premiums to be awarded by the Dublin Society for damask, velvet, lace, silkwork, stallions, bulls, heifers, tapestry, fish, paintings and sculpture
For Madden and the Dublin Society in the 18th century see the invaluable
A History of the Royal Dublin Society by Henry F. Berry, pub. 1915. and available online at -
This work is also very useful as a source of information for the Society drawing School established in about 1746  and the careers of  sculptor John van Nost III and his pupil Patrick Cunningham and other apprentices. The Society  appears to have taken over the drawing School of Robert West in 1747 and set up its own school of Art in Shaw's Court, Dame Street.

Photographed at the RDS by the author 4 October 2016.
Once again I am very grateful to Gerard Whelan and the staff at the RDS.
Plaster bust of Samuel Madden DD
National Gallery of Ireland.
This appears to have been cast from the original Marble at the RDS
By John van Nost III
note particularly the lettering on the socle.
Samuel Madden DD
Low resolution portrait from Sotheby's.
Very low resolution reproduction of a Mezzotint of Samuel Madden DD.
Samuel Madden DD.
John Brooks after Robert Hunter
360 x 254 cms approx.
Samuel Molyneux Madden, by and published by John Brooks, after  Robert Hunter, mid 18th century - NPG D5661 - © National Portrait Gallery, London
Samuel Madden
Engraved by John Brookes after Robert Hunter
Published in Dublin
© National Portrait Gallery, London
Samuel Madden DD.
inscribed ex Marmor van Nost.
Charles Spooner d. 1767
Published and sold by Thos. Sillcock, at the Royal Fan,Nicholas Street Dublin
National Library of Ireland.


Thursday, 13 October 2016

Bust of Lord Chesterfield by Joseph Wilton

The Marble Bust of Philip Dormer Stanhope
Lord Chesterfield
by Joseph Wilton (1722 - 1803)
British Museum.
signed J Wilton ad vivum 1757
bust 67 cms.
Provenance: Probably commissioned by the sitter, 1757;
given to Sir Thomas Robinson Bt (?1700-77) by Chesterfield; bequeathed to the British Museum by Robinson, 1777.
Robinson's will dated 26 September 1777 reads:
'my fine Bust of the late Lord Chesterfield made by Wilton my Picture of his Lordship drawn by Ramsay and my Medal of that Nobleman the whole of which were given to me by his Lordship and which I give to the British Museum as a Testimony of my Regard for the Memory of an illustrious person with whom I have lived in intimacy for more than half a century.'
All photographs from the British Museum Website

Lord Chesterfield by Stephen Slaughter, Dublin Castle

Philip Dormer Stanhope.
Lord Chesterfield (1694 - 1773).
The Portrait in Dublin Castle
by Stephen Slaughter (1697 - 1765).
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland from July 1745 - he left Ireland on 23 April 1746.
He was replaced by his half brother William Stanhope Earl of Harrington. Chesterfield was hugely popular during his very short stay unlike Harrington whose departure from Dublin was greeted with much celebration by the locals.
 He was president of the (Royal) Dublin Society and was instrumental in acquiring a civil list payment for it in 1750.
He was instrumental in opening up Phoenix Park originally parkland designated for the use of the Viceroy and for erecting the statue of a phoenix on top of a column in the park.

Portrait of Lord Chesterfield whilst Lord Lieutenant of Ireland
in the State Apartments in Dublin Castle.
Photograph Courtesy Dublin Castle.
Once again I am very grateful to William Derham, Curator at Dublin Castle for providing this photograph.
This portrait was very recently cleaned and conserved when the details were discovered. 
Stephen Slaughter (1697 - 1765).
Baptised at St Paul's, Covent Garden, 13 January 1697, attended Kneller's academy at Great Queen Street in 1712 (Vertue III, p.77 and VI, p.169).  Edward Slaughter recorded at the St Martin's Lane Academy in 1720 (Vertue VI, p.170) is probably his younger brother (see Burial Register of St Mary Abbots, Kensington, for 24 November 1773, and Slaughter's will of 1764/PCC Rushworth 198). According to Vertue ‘liv'd abroad, at Paris and Flanders near 17 years’, returning to England in 1732/3.
His name first appears upon an etching, done in 1733, from a drawing by Parmegiano, then in the collection of Dr. Hickman to whom the print is dedicated, Stephn. Slaughter f. 1733. As a painter he is first heard of in 1734, when he was in Ireland and painted a portrait of Nathaniel Kane, Lord Mayor of Dublin. He remained in Ireland a few years, occasionally visiting England, as certain dated portraits, such as those of "the Hon. John Spencer," "Lady Georgina Spencer," "Sir Robert Walpole" and others show.

He became Keeper and Surveyor of the King's Pictures in 1744. Executed murals of Spenser's Faerie Queene for the Chinese Temple at Stowe 1745. Shared his Kensington home with his brother and sisters (including his widowed sister the artist Mrs Judith Lewis) and died there 15 May 1765.
Info Tate Gallery and Library of Ireland.
For a useful and amusing account of the Viceroyalty of both Chesterfield and Harrington see
The Viceroys of Ireland..... Charles O'Mahony pub 1912.
 Chesterfield wrote 'The House of Lords is a hospital for incurables, but the Commons can hardly be described.  Session after session presents one unvaried waste of provincial imbecility.'
On the other hand in a spirit of even handedness he also wrote to a friend in London 'We have more clever men here in a nutshell, than can be produced in the whole circle of London.'
Engraving by Samuel Wheatley
Incorporating a portrait of Chesterfield after William Hoare
Plate mark 51.5 x 31.2 cms.
Image Courtesy National Gallery of Ireland.
Lord Chesterfield
31.5 x22.3cms
Andrew Miller (fl 1737 - 63) Dublin -Working in Dublin after 1743.
after William Hoare.
National Gallery of Ireland.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Bust of Lord Chesterfield by John van Nost III in the RDS Dublin.

A Marble Bust of Philip Dormer Stanhope
Lord Chesterfield
by John van Nost III in the RDS.
The Royal Dublin Society.
(Dublin Society commenced 1731)
It became the Royal Dublin Society 2nd April 1750.
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.
President of the (Royal) Dublin Society 1745 - 46.
The bust was commissioned from van Nost in 1769.
He was paid 35 guineas.
The features of this bust should be compared with those on the bust of Chesterfield by Joseph Wilton.
It is almost impossible not to reach the conclusion that the van Nost bust is a version of Wiltons undraped marble bust in the British Museum. Se my post to come.
Lord Chesterfield by John van Nost III photographed by the author 4 Oct 2014.
I am very grateful to Gerard Whelan, Librarian for allowing me the opportunity to visit the RDS
and to various members of staff for making the visit so pleasurable.
For the useful History of the Royal Dublin Society, by Henry Berry pub. 1914 see
I will be posting further pages of the busts of Madden and Prior by John van Nost III and other busts and sculpture at the RDS when I can find the time.