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Bust - Anne, Duchess of Richmond
  • Anne, Duchess of Richmond
    Guelfi, Giovanni Battista, born 1690
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Anne, Duchess of Richmond

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    1730-1734 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Guelfi, Giovanni Battista, born 1690 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Cast or modelled terracotta

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 52, The George Levy Gallery, case WE

Object Type
This terracotta bust of the Duchess of Richmond may have been a model for the marble bust on her tomb in Deene Church, Northamptonshire, erected by her son in 1734, or alternatively a (slightly cheaper) version of the portrait made for the family home.

Giovanni Battista Guelfi was born in Bergamo, but trained as a sculptor in Rome. He seems to have arrived in Britain in about 1720 or early 1721 at the invitation of Thomas Fermor, Lord Leominster (created 1st Earl of Pomfret in 1721), through the introduction arranged by the painter and designer (and later architect and landscapist) William Kent (1684-1748). Guelfi worked in Britain until the early 1730s, and then appears to have returned to Italy, although no record is known of his work after he left Britain, and he may have died shortly thereafter. During his time here he executed a number of important funerary monuments and some portrait busts, the latter notably for Queen Caroline's Grotto in the grounds of Kew Palace, Surrey.

Materials & Making
Terracotta (baked clay) was often used to make a preliminary model, since the sculptor could work the malleable clay relatively easily that was then to be fired in order to produce a durable piece of sculpture. Sometimes terracotta was used for aftercasts of an existing marble version of a portrait bust or figure group. The clay would first be pressed into a multi-piece mould modelled from the original marble, and once the pieces were fitted together, was then fired.

Physical description

The sitter is turned slightly to her left, and has loose curls falling on her left shoulder. She wears a low-necked dress with a frill at the top, and a jewel in front attached to a ribbon over her left shoulder. Over the dress is a cloak or shawl.

Place of Origin

London (made)


1730-1734 (made)


Guelfi, Giovanni Battista, born 1690 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Cast or modelled terracotta


Height: 68 cm, Width: 54 cm, Depth: 29 cm

Object history note

Made in London by Giovanni Battista Guelfi (active in Britain 1714-1734)
Purchased by the John Webb Trust
Formerly at Goodwood House, Sussex

Descriptive line

Bust, terracotta, Anne, Duchess of Richmond, by Giovanni Battista Guelfi, London, ca. 1730-4

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

Bilbey, Diane and Trusted Marjorie. British Sculpture 1470 to 2000. A Concise Catalogue of the Collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum. London, 2002. pp. 87-88. cat. no. 119.
Webb, M. I. Busts of Sir Issac Newton. Country Life. Jan 25, 1952. p. 217.
Gunnis, R. Dictionary of British Sculptors 1660-1851. London, 1951. p. 183.
Whinney, M. English Sculpture 1720-1830. London, 1971. p. 68.
Penny, N. Catalogue of European Sculpture in the Ashmolean Museum. III., Oxford, 1992. p. 96.
Whinny, M. Sculpture in Britain 1530 to 1830. London, 1988. p. 161.
Physick, J. Giovanni Battista Guelfi: a Query. The church monuments society newsletter. vol. 6. no. 2. Winter 1991.
Breton, B. Giovanni Battista Guelfi. The church monuments society newsletter. vol. 7. no. 1. Summer 1991.
Giometti, C. Giovanni Battista Guelfi: New discoveries. The sculpture journal. III, 1999. pp. 29, 30. fig. 2.
Avery, C. David le Marchand, precursor of eighteenth-century English portrait sculpture. The British art journal. I. 1. Autumn, 1999. p. 27-34, pl. 9 on p. 28
Dizionario biografico degli Italiani. 2003.

Labels and date

British Galleries:
This terracotta is related to the marble bust of the Duchess of Richmond (died in 1722) on her tomb in Deene church, Northamptonshire. The sculptor had trained in Rome. In Britain he produced portrait busts and tomb sculpture, but also worked on the restoration of ancient Roman sculpture that had been brought to Britain by collectors. [27/03/2003]




Sculpture; Portraits


Sculpture Collection

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