John Fane, 7th Earl of Westmorland
- Place of origin:
Ady, Thomas (sculptor)
- Materials and Techniques:
- Museum number:
- Gallery location:
British Galleries, Room 54, case WS, shelf FS
This portrait bust of John Fane, 7th Earl of Westmorland (1682-1762), was executed for Richard Temple, Viscount Cobham (1675-1749), to be placed in the Temple of Friendship at Stowe, Buckinghamshire. It was one of a series of ten marble busts portraying Cobham and his friends and political associates. The busts were ranged round the walls on plinths, apparently surrounding the dining table at which Cobham entertained his friends.
Lord Cobham was a career soldier and an opposition Whig in conflict with the government led by Sir Robert Walpole. His house and estate at Stowe were the focus for a number of opposition figures, and many of the buildings, monuments and sculptures set out in the gardens and park symbolised his political philosophy, notably his commemoration of British Worthies, such as Sir Isaac Newton and Elizabeth I, representing great historical figures who personified freedom of thought or momentous historic action.
Materials & Making
Marble busts were among the most prestigious types of portrait undertaken in Britain during the 18th century. The marble, a relatively expensive material, was imported, usually from Italy via The Netherlands, since there are no marble quarries in this country. The skills needed to carve marble could also be learnt abroad, where an aspiring artist would probably gain his most important training assisting an established sculptor.
The sitter bare-headed and with tight curls, looks to his half-right. He wears classical armour, the breast of which shows a relief of Britannia holding an olive branch and surrounded by trophies.
Place of Origin
Ady, Thomas (sculptor)
Materials and Techniques
Height: 82.6 cm with socle
Object history note
Carved in London by Thomas Ady (active 1730-1753). The bust was almost certainly in the Temple of Friendship, Stowe House, Buckinghamshire, and was included in the 1848 Stowe sale, as lot 764. It was there sold to 'Russell' for £8 8s, who was a London dealer. The vendors of the present piece noted that it was said to have come from the Earl of Jersey's collection; it this is correct the Earl must have bought it from Russell or a subsequent owner. The V&A purchased the bust from Messrs Kerin, 15 Davies Street, London, for £100.
Bust, marble, of John Fane, 7th Earl of Westmorland (1682-1762), by Thomas Ady, Britain, signed and dated 1742
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, 2002, 522 p., ISBN 1-85177-395-9, cat. 64 on p. 43.
Whinney, M. Sculpture in Britain 1530 to 1830, (revised by J. Physick), London, 1988 (second edition), p. 248, note 11
Molesworth, H. D. Sculpture in England: Renaissance to Early XIX Century. The British Council, London, NY, Toronto, 1951, p. 15, plate XXX
Ward-Jackson, Peter. Le Siècle de l'élégance : la demeure anglaise au XVIIIe siècle, Paris : Musée des arts décoratifs, 1959
Labels and date
This bust was one of the series in the Temple of Friendship that Lord Cobham built in his garden at Stowe, Buckinghamshire. Like Lord Cobham, Westmorland (1682-1762) was both a soldier and a politician. He was also a supporter of the Palladian style and built his own house, Mereworth Castle in Kent, in close imitation of an Italian villa designed by the Italian 16th-century architect Andrea Palladio. [27/03/2003]