Lot 114
  • 114

Joseph Gott (1786-1860) British, 1829

20,000 - 30,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Emperor Napoleon
  • white marble
  • Joseph Gott (1786-1860) British, 1829
signed and dated: J. Gott 1829 and entitled: NAPOLEONE


Benjamin Gott (1762-1840), Armley House, Yorkshire, United Kingdom;
by family descent;
their sale Christie's, 1 December 1894, lot 121;
Thomas Gribble, Fine Art Commission Agent, London;
private collection, United Kingdom


Joseph Gott, 1786-1860, Sculptor, exh. cat. Temple Newsam House, Leeds, and Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, 1972, p. 29, no. G22;
'Aspects of Nineteenth Century Sculpture in Leeds, Part 2: Patronage Of The Benjamin Gott Family,' Leeds Art Calendar, no.70, 1972

Catalogue Note

This remarkable bust of Napoleon by the celebrated artist Joseph Gott is an important rediscovery for British Neoclassical sculpture. The bust was recorded in the 1972 monographic exhibition on Gott, but it was said to be 'untraced'. Gott carved his Napoleon when he was at the zenith of his career, living in Rome with a pension from Sir Thomas Lawrence and a letter of introduction to Antonio Canova. Writing in 1826, the Academician Thomas Unwins noted that 'Gott and Gibson, the English sculptors are getting for themselves and for their country a high reputation,' whilst Turner described Gott's popularity amongst patrons in Rome. The present bust was carved for Gott's most loyal patron, his cousin the visionary industrialist Benjamin Gott. The latter was a close friend of James Watt, whose engines powered his vast mills in Leeds. The Napoleon is fundamentally indebted to models by Antoine-Denis Chaudet and Antonio Canova, but, in the beautifully carved flowing locks of hair and superb polished surface, it provides a unique British contribution to the iconography of the Emperor of the French.