A WEDGWOOD AND BENTLEY VERY LARGE BLACK BASALT BUST OF JULIUS CAESAR CIRCA 1779
modeled showing the emperor wearing fish-scale armor, raised on a separate socle base, the reverse edge at the shoulder impressed uppercase JULIUS CAESAR, the lower edge impressed lowercase Wedgwood & Bentley mark, the socle base impressed uppercase WEDGWOOD & BENTLEY.
Height 18⅝ in.
The bust is in overall good appearance.
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. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.
Sotheby's New York, October 11, 1995, lot 164
Wedgwood wrote to Bentley in February 1771: "I wrote to you in my last concerning of Busts. I suppose those at the [Royal] Academy are less hackney'd & better in General than the Plaister shop can furnish us with; besides it will sound better to say - This is from the Academy, taken from an Original... than to say, we had it from Flaxman."
though he concluded that "we must be content to have them [the moulds] as we can, & as Oliver, as a plaister figure maker, in selling his moulds, transfers his business likewise to us he must be pd. handsomely for them.", Reilly, 1989, Vol. I, p. 450. It was apparent to Wedgwood that he could create more durable, and beautiful models than anything produced in plaster. By 1774 Josiah proclaimed he would have "a collection of the finest Heads in the Word". (Reilly, ibid, p. 456.)
According to Robin Reilly and George Savage, The Dictionary of Wedgwood, 1980, p. 67, this bust of Caius Julius Caesar was "supplied by Hoskins & Grant [to Wedgwood in] 1779, [and] not listed in the Catalogues after that date."