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Relief - John Milton (1608-1674)

John Milton (1608-1674)

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Britain (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1740 - ca. 1769 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    van der Hagen, Gaspar (sculptor)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Ivory carved in relief

  • Credit Line:

    Given by J.H.J. Lewis O.B.E.

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This oval ivory medallion is probably made by Gaspar van der Hagen, after John Michael Rysbrack, in ca. 1740-69. The poet and essayist Milton (1608-1674) is depicted in profile facing right. This portrait may be derived from the bust by John Michael Rysbrack (1694-1770) on the monument to Milton in Westminster Abbey of 1738 (Webb 1954, fig. 50). Milton was an English poet, essayist and a civil servant for the Commonwealth of England under Oliver Cromwell. He is best known for his epic poem Paradise Lost. Gaspar van der Hagen (active London 1744 – York 1769) worked both in marble and in ivory. He seems to have concentrated in small ivory heads, some after full-size busts by John Michaerl Rysbrack (1694-1770). He was aparaently a native of Antwerp, who practised in London for most of his life. He may be indentical to the monogrammist GVDR. Rysbrack (1694-1770) was born in Antwerp, and trained in the Netherlands, but spent his working life in Britain. He was one of the most important sculptors active in this country in the first half of the 18th century, and specialised in portrait busts and funerary monuments. Although he never visited Italy, many of his works are clearly indebted to classical archetypes. His terracotta models are particularly fine, and are often virtually finished pieces in their own right.

Physical description

Milton is depicted in profilew looking right, with long shoulder-length hair. Monogrammed.

Place of Origin

Britain (made)


ca. 1740 - ca. 1769 (made)


van der Hagen, Gaspar (sculptor)

Materials and Techniques

Ivory carved in relief

Marks and inscriptions

on the truncation of the right shoulder


Height: 10.2 cm

Object history note

Previously on anonymous loan, private collection, on loan to the Museum since 1992. Before that sold at Sotheby's, London, 8 December 1988, lot 398.
Loan transferred into gift and given to the museum by J. H. J. Lewis O.B.E. in 2016.

Descriptive line

Medallion, ivory relief, portrait of John Milton, probably by Gaspar van der Hagen after John Rysbrack, Netherlandish, made in Britain, ca. 1740-69

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

Trusted, Marjorie, Baroque & Later Ivories, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 2013, cat. no. 130




Carving; Relief


Medallions; Reliefs; Sculpture


Sculpture Collection

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