Sunday, May 27, 2012

Lydiard House Rysbrack bust

One of the few items that escaped the great dispersal sale of the 1940s was the Rysbrack bust of Henry St John, 1st Viscount Bolingbroke. 

Henry, philosopher and politician, was Queen Anne’s Secretary at War from 1704-1708 but blotted his copybook after the Queen’s death when he aligned himself to the Jacobite Pretender and was attainted for treason.

The bust is the work of Flemish sculptor John Michael Rysbrack.  Born in Antwerp in 1694 Rysbrack moved to London in 1720 where he lived and worked for 50 years. Rysbrack left a large body of work.  Among his commissions were  busts, memorials and statues. Here are just a few of his pieces.
marble bust of Oliver Cromwell photographed at Huntingdon Library, Art Collections and Botanical Garden in Pasadena, California.
William III - 1736 bronze equestrian statue in the centre of Queen Square, Bristol

Marble statue of Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford, dressed as a Roman Commander 1744  Wentworth Castle.

John Barnard 1744

Monument to Sir Edward Seymour - All Saints Church, Maiden Bradley

The story goes that a faithful old retainer removed the prized Henry Bolingbroke bust under cover of darkness and hid it in the vault of St Mary’s Church, returning it when the sale was done and dusted.

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