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Bust - Richard Temple, 1st Viscount Cobham
  • Richard Temple, 1st Viscount Cobham
    Scheemakers, Peter , born 1691 - died 1781
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Richard Temple, 1st Viscount Cobham

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1740 (carved)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Scheemakers, Peter , born 1691 - died 1781 (sculptor)

  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Credit Line:

    Given by Dr W. L. Hildburgh FSA

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 54, case WS, shelf FS

Object Type
This portrait bust was executed for the sitter, Richard Temple, 1st 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 important figure in the Whig party, who strongly opposed various government policies directed by Sir Robert Walpole. Cobham's 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.

Peter Scheemakers (1691-1781) was born in Antwerp and trained under his father, the sculptor Peter Scheemaekers the Elder (1652-1714). Scheemakers was in London by 1721, where he first collaborated with Pieter-Denis Plumier (1688-1721) and Laurent Delvaux (1696-1778) on the monument to John Sheffield, 1st Duke of Buckingham, for Westminster Abbey. Scheemakers continued in partnership with Delvaux, carving funerary monuments as well as garden statuary. They went together to Rome in 1728, where Scheemakers remained for two years before returning to England in 1730 and setting up an independent workshop. He spent the rest of his working life in England, concentrating on monuments and portrait busts

Physical description

Bust, marble. The subject faces half left. He is shown without a wig wearing a fringed toga caught on his right shoulder with a circular brooch over a classical tunic. The pedestal which can be detached is adorned in front with Cobham's arms. Cobham's left ear is missing.

Place of Origin

England (made)


ca. 1740 (carved)


Scheemakers, Peter , born 1691 - died 1781 (sculptor)

Materials and Techniques


Marks and inscriptions

'Ld. Temple Viscount Cobham'


Height: 84.5 cm

Object history note

One of a series of ten busts executed for Richard Temple, 1st Viscount Cobham for the Temple of Friendship at Stowe, Buckinghamshire, later moved to the Grenville Vestibule there. Sold on the sixth day of the Stowe sale, 21 August 1848, lot 770, for £18 18s to Mr Rainey, who may have acted as agent for the Temple family. Included in the sale of the Executers of the Rt Hon. Algernon William Stephen, 5th Earl Temple, removed from Newton Park, Bristol, held at Sotheby's, London, 9 May 1941, lot no. 65. Purchased by Dawson for £44. Acquired, probably through Dawson, by Dr W.L. Hildburgh F.S.A.; on loan from Hildburgh from June 1941. Given by him to the Museum as a New Year gift in 1942.

Descriptive line

Bust, marble, Richard Temple, First Viscount Cobham, by Peter Scheemakers, England, ca. 1740

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.
Eustace, K. 'The Politics of the Past: Stowe and the development of the historical portrait bust', Apollo, CXLVIII, July 1998.
Whinney, M, (revised by J.Physick) Sculpture in Britain 1530 to 1830. London, 1988, p.167 and fig. 128.
Trusted, Marjorie (ed.) The Making of Sculpture. The Materials and Techniques of European Sculpture. London, 2007, p. 96, pl. 167.

Labels and date

British Galleries:
This is one of ten busts commissioned by Lord Cobham (1675-1749) for his Temple of Friendship at Stowe, Buckinghamshire. The Temple was built to the design of the architect James Gibbs (1682-1754). The busts, representing Lord Cobham and his political friends, stood on pedestals around the room and showed the sitters in Roman dress. [27/03/2003]




Sculpture; Portraits


Sculpture Collection

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