WORKSHOP OF MICHAEL RYSBRACK (1694-1770)
BRITISH, 18TH CENTURY
BUST OF KING GEORGE II (1638-1760)
bust: 43cm., 17in.
base: 12cm., 4¾in.
Overall the condition of the marble is very good with minor dirt and wear to the surface consistent with age. There is minor natural veining to the marble consistent with the material including to the proper left side of the face and to the proper right side of the wreath in the hair. The marble has a brown/pinkish hue in areas, in particular at the shoulders. There are some chips to the lower edge of the truncation at either side of the Lesser George. There are minor abrasions to the edges of the shoulders. There is a probably original marble insert in the edge of the proper right shoulder. There are a few minor abrasions including to the lion mask pauldron. The base may be associated and there is minor wear including a few small chips and abrasions.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."
Christie's, London, 7 July 1998, lot 98
This beautifully carved bust of George II is a reduced version of Rysbrack's portrait, which he modelled from life in 1738. The original terracotta is in the Royal Collection (inv. no. RCIN 1412) and is paired with a bust of Queen Caroline (1683-1737; inv. no. RCIN 1411). Vertu, in his diaries from 1738, records that ‘the KING … sat to [Rysbrack] at Kensington twice. to have his picture modelled in Clay. the likeness much approvd on – and with a good Air. – also a Moddel of the Queen vastly like. Tho’ not done from the life’ (as quoted in Webb, op. cit., p. 155). Rysbrack executed marble versions of the pair for George II, which are almost certainly the prime marble versions and are in the Royal Collection at Kensington Palace (inv. nos. RCIN 31322 and 31317). The fact that Rysbrack kept the terracotta models indicates that he was given permission to execute further versions. A lifesize marble version of the George II from the collection of Howard Hodgkin was sold in these rooms on 24 October 2017, lot 193. The present bust is carved with a level of finesse worthy of Rysbrack himself, evidenced particularly in the very fine medusa mask. However, it is a simplified version of the original (note the absence of the lace bow at the collar) and the reduced size is unusual, which indicates that the present marble was probably produced in the workshop.
M. I. Webb, Michael Rysbrack, London, 1954; J. Kenworthy-Browne, 'Portrait Busts by Rysbrack', National Trust Studies 1980 (1979), 67; R. Williams and K. Eustace. "Rysbrack." Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press. Web. 11 May. 2014. ; Katharine Eustace, ‘Rysbrack, (John) Michael (1694–1770)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, May 2009