History of the Age of Enlightenment, £19.99
Height: 65.000 cm
Bequeathed by Sir Thomas Robinson (1777)
Room 46: Europe 1400-1800
Marble portrait bust of Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield, by Joseph Wilton
England, AD 1757
Philip Dormer Stanhope (1694-1773), fourth earl of Chesterfield, was made Knight Companion of the Order of the Garter in 1730. This portrait bust shows him wearing the Order's ribbon and motto. Chesterfield completed a diplomatic mission in The Hague in 1745, after which he was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and Secretary of State for the Northern Department. Retiring in 1752, Chesterfield is best known for his letters to his son and godson, both called Philip Stanhope, which contain accounts of the civil and political life of the times.
Chesterfield commissioned this bust from the sculptor Joseph Wilton (1722-1803). Wilton trained in continental Europe, returning to London in 1755. He was appointed Keeper of the Duke of Richmond's Academy for young artists, was one of the founder members of the Royal Academy, and became its Keeper in 1780.
The portrait is both
idealistic and realistic in style. Depicted without a wig, the
sitter is not dressed in the classical manner, but the strong
features and heroic manner do follow the antique tradition. The
composition of this portrait bust, with waisted
A. Dawson, Portrait sculpture, a catalogu (London, The British Museum Press, 1999)