Sunday, 12 June 2016

Duke of Marlborough by Michael Rysbrack



 
 
Marble bust of John Churchill,
The Duke of Marlborough (1650 -1722)
By Michael Rysbrack.1694 - 1770.
 
Marble Bust All' Antica.
 
from the Collection of the Duke of Northumberland.
 
Sold Lot 12 Sotheby's London. 9 July 2014.
 
bust: 63cm., 24¾in.
socle: 30cm., 11¾
 
Provenance -
 
Charles Seymour, 6th Duke of Somerset (1662 - 1748), Northumberland House, London.
Algernon Seymour, 7th Duke of Somerset (1684 - 1750), Northumberland House, London. (By descent).
Elizabeth Percy (née Seymour), 1st Duchess of Northumberland (1716 -1776), Northumberland House, London. (By descent).
George Percy, 5th Duke of Northumberland (1778 - 1867), Syon House, Middlesex
Thence by descent.
 
 
 
Inscribed to the front of the socle: IOHANNES / DUX MARLBURIENSIS / S.R. Imperij Princeps &c / Angliae et Bataviae Libertatum / periclitantuim Assertor, / Galliae Triumphantis / Domitor et Flagellum / Germaniae ruentis Liberator / ac Tutamen. / Qui, per acerrimum Decenne Bellum /' Hostium copias Saepius aggressius, nunq: / non fudit, EorumqE oppida oppugnans / nunquam non expugnavit.
 
inscribed to the reverse of the socle: IOHN Duke of MARLBOROUGH / Prince of the Roman Empire, & ca. / The Rescuer of the Liberties of / ENGLAND and HOLLAND / when in most Imminent Danger, The Subduer and Scourge of FRANCE when in its Height of Power, The Deliverer and Protector of GERMANY, When at the Point of Ruin, Who through the whole course, of A Ten Years Vigorous War, In Repeated Attacks, Upon The Enemies, Armies and Continual Assaults upon their Strong Townes, Never once fail'd of Success.
 
Mentioned in an Inventory of Charles Duke of Somerset's Goods at Northumberland House, 23 March 1748/49 (Long Room) 'A marble Bust of his Grace the late Duke of Marlborough' (The Archives of the Duke of Northumberland at Alnwick Castle Sy.H.IV.1.c).
 
 
Katherine Eustace in the Sothebys Catalogue entry says that "it is believed to have been created before 1730, because a version was presented by Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, to Oxford University in that year; it remained in the Bodleian Library until 1926, when it was transferred to the Ashmolean Museum, where it can still be viewed today (inv. no. WA 1926.32). (see photograph below)
Significantly, that bust has the same Latin inscription on the front of the socle as the present bust, also with an English translation to the reverse. George Vertue, Rysback’s close friend, records that the sculptor made two busts of Marlborough, one of which he describes as being ‘From the Life’ (Webb, p. 95).
Four other versions are known to have been made: a marble in the National Portrait Gallery, London (inv. no. NPG 2005) (formerly in the British Museum); one formerly in the collection of the Earls of Shaftsbury at Wimborne St Giles, Dorset; and a third, formerly in Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough’s personal collection at Wimbledon House, which she left to Francis, 2nd Earl of Godolphin and which was tragically destroyed by fire in 1789. The fourth is the present bust from Syon House. The Ashmolean bust has long been given to Rysbrack on the basis of its firm provenance, whilst the remaining marbles have been presumed to be Workshop versions, overseen to a greater or lesser extent by the master, with the present marble being the superior of the group; Webb describes it as ‘a good one’ (Webb, op. cit., p. 95)".
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The photographs above from the website of estimable dealers Tomasso Brothers of St James, London and Leeds.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
__________________
 
The Ashmolean Marble  Bust of John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough
by Michael Rysbrack.
dated 1730.
 
 
Bust of the Duke of Marlborough.
Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.
 
 
This version was presented by Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, to Oxford University in 1730;
it remained in the Bodleian Library until 1926.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, studio of John Michael Rysbrack, circa 1730 - NPG 2005 - © National Portrait Gallery, London
 
Bust in the National Portrait Gallery.
 
© National Portrait Gallery, London.
 
 
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John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, possibly by John Closterman, after  John Riley, (circa 1685-1690) - NPG 501 - © National Portrait Gallery, London
 
 
John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough
possibly by John Closterman, after John Riley
oil on canvas, feigned oval, (circa 1685-1690)
29 5/8 in. x 24 3/4 in. (754 mm x 630 mm).
 
© National Portrait Gallery, London.
 
_______________________________
 
 
John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, by John Smith, after  Sir Godfrey Kneller, Bt, 1689 or after - NPG D38238 - © National Portrait Gallery, London
 
by John Smith, after Sir Godfrey Kneller, Bt
mezzotint, 1689 or after.
15 1/8 in. x 10 1/8 in. (384 mm x 257 mm) paper size.
 
© National Portrait Gallery, London.

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