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Statuette - Alexander Pope (1688-1744)
  • Alexander Pope (1688-1744)
    Cheere, John, born 1709 - died 1787
  • Enlarge image

Alexander Pope (1688-1744)

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1749 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Cheere, John, born 1709 - died 1787 (possibly)

  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Credit Line:

    Given by Dr W. L. Hildburgh FSA

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This figure is one of a series of historical portraits of 'Worthies' (deceased individuals of unusual ability) in statuette form that were produced in lead by Cheere. A group of ten such subjects in bronzed plaster that were formerly at Kirkleatham Hall, Yorkshire, are now owned by the Castle Museum, York (they are on permanent loan to York City Art Gallery). They comprise five poets (Homer, Edmund Spenser, William Shakespeare, John Milton and Pope), two painters (Peter Paul Rubens and Anthony van Dyck), an architect and designer (Inigo Jones), a scientist (Isaac Newton) and a philosopher (John Locke). Given the strong literary bias of this group, they were probably intended for display in a private library. The V&A also has a lead figure of Edmund Spenser that is ascribed to John Cheere (inv. no. A3-1955).

John Cheere (1709-1787) is the younger brother of the sculptor Sir Henry Cheere and was apprenticed to a haberdasher for a period of seven years from 1725, but later joined his brother's studio. He is most noted for the production of lead figures, which he executed at his own studio at Hyde Park Corner from 1737. Cheere seems to have taken over the yard previously occupied by the Nost family. He also produced plaster figures and busts of eminent contemporaries, including those made for the Turner family at Kirkleatham.

Physical description

The poet, who is wearing a voluminous gown over his other clothes, stands with his left leg crossed negligently over his right. His left hand rests on an open upright book, standing on another book and his elbow on the two additional books behind, all of which are placed on a pedestal beside him. With his right, he writes on a parchment sheet, also lying on the pedestal.

Place of Origin

England (made)


ca. 1749 (made)


Cheere, John, born 1709 - died 1787 (possibly)

Materials and Techniques



Height: 47 cm

Object history note

Purchased by Belham (presumably on behalf of Dr. W. L. Hildburgh, F. S. A) for £50 together with Mus. no A.3-1955, from the sale held at Sotheby's, London, on 29 May 1953, lot no. 3, there unattributed and incorrectly identified as Shakespeare and Milton. On loan to the Museum from Dr. Hildburgh from 25 June 1953. Given by Hildburgh in 1955.

Historical significance: This is one of a series of statuettes of historical figures or Worthies produces in lead by John Cheere. Ten such subjects, represented in the bronzed plasters formerly at Kirkleatham Hall, Yorkshire, and now owned by the Castle Museum, York, include Spenser, Homer, Rubens, Van Dyck, Pope, Newton, Inigo Jones, Locke, Milton and Shakespeare.

Descriptive line

Statuette, lead, Alexander Pope, perhaps by John Cheere, English, ca. 1749

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, p. 67, cat. no. 90



Subjects depicted



Sculpture; Portraits


Sculpture Collection

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