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Statuette - George Pitt, M.P of Strathfield Saye, Hampshire
  • George Pitt, M.P of Strathfield Saye, Hampshire
    Cheere, Henry Sir, Bt, born 1703 - died 1781
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George Pitt, M.P of Strathfield Saye, Hampshire

  • Object:

    Statuette

  • Place of origin:

    England

  • Date:

    1738-1741 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Cheere, Henry Sir, Bt, born 1703 - died 1781 (maker)
    Cheere, John, born 1709 - died 1787 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Lead

  • Museum number:

    A.30-1931

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This small statuette, probably a posthumous portrait, portrays a Member of Parliament, George Pitt (1663?-1735), whose marble bust by Henry Cheere is displayed in the British Galleries. Henry Cheere worked primarily in marble, while his brother John specialised in lead statuary; this work may be by either, or was perhaps a collaborative work between the brothers, designed by Henry and cast by his brother. Given the prominent presence of books in the piece, it could well have been made for a library.

Sir Henry Cheere (1703-1781) was one of the most successful sculptors in mid-18th-century Britain, and unlike some of his more eminent sculptor contemporaries, such as John Michael Rysbrack and Louis François Roubiliac, he was a native of this country. He specialised in portrait busts and tomb sculpture, and in the latter was particularly adept in the use of coloured marbles. He also employed a light, and yet at the same time highly-finished, style that was typical of the Rococo.

Statuettes for interiors became increasingly common in the 18th century, being less expensive and more easily displayed than larger marble pieces. John Cheere was famous for his garden sculptures, but also produced smaller works in lead and plaster. Often these were historical figures, such as Homer, Rubens and Van Dyck. A statuette of the poet Edmund Spenser (Museum no. A.3-1955) and one of Alexander Pope (A.4-1955) by John Cheere are also in the collection.

Physical description

Full length standing figure, looking to the right. He wears an embroidered coat open at the neck to show the shirt, over his right shoulder and falling round the body is a cloak. In his right hand he holds a book against his hip, while his left catches the folds of the cloak at his waist. He stand against a small bookcase filled with books. The oblong base is of composition. The whole painted in black.

Place of Origin

England

Date

1738-1741 (made)

Artist/maker

Cheere, Henry Sir, Bt, born 1703 - died 1781 (maker)
Cheere, John, born 1709 - died 1787 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Lead

Dimensions

Height: 55 cm, Width: 17.5 cm of base, Length: 29.5 cm

Object history note

Given by Dr W.L Hildburgh, F.S.A. Bought from a sale at Sotherby's Friday 24th July, 1931, lot. 55.

Descriptive line

Statuette, lead, George Pitt, M.P., of Stratfield Saye, Hampshire, perhaps by Sir Henry Cheere, England, ca. 1738-1741

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Bilbey, Diane with Trusted, Marjorie. British Sculpture 1470 to 2000. A Concise Catalogue of the Collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum. London: V& A Publications, 2002. pp. 62-3. cat. no. 84
Esdaile, K.A., The life and works of Louis François Roubiliac, Oxford and London, 1927, pp. 52-53, pl. XII opp. p. 55
Review [1911-1938], Victoria & Albert Museum. Review of the Principal Acquisitions during the Year, London, 1912-1939, 1931, p. 4, pl 3(d)

Materials

Lead

Techniques

Painted

Subjects depicted

Books

Categories

Sculpture

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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