Marble portrait bust of Richard Payne Knight by John Bacon the Younger

London, England, AD 1812

Richard Payne Knight (1751-1824) was a renowned philologist, numismatist (coin expert) and collector. He was a member of the Society of Dilettanti, one of the founding members of the British Institution, and was appointed to the committee to superintend the monuments of St Paul's Cathedral in London. Payne Knight played an active part in the acquisition of Charles Townley's collection of classical marbles by the nation, and in 1814 was appointed a Trustee of the British Museum, representing the Townley family. His own bequest to the Museum included 1144 drawings, an important collection of ancient bronze sculpture and other miscellaneous objects.

John Bacon the Younger (1777-1859) was trained by his father, and entered the Royal Academy in 1789, exhibiting between 1792 and 1824. He took over his father's business in 1799 and apparently retired about 1830, having had a successful career in which he produced portrait busts and monuments. This highly finished bust is based on a plaster model that Bacon exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1811. It reveals both a highly naturalistic style and a restrained, classical manner.

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More information


A. Dawson, Portrait sculpture, a catalogu (London, The British Museum Press, 1999)


Height: 46.000 cm (total)
Width: 23.500 cm (head)
Width: 23.500 cm (head)

Museum number

M&ME 1824,4-29,92 (OA 10551)


Bequeathed by R. Payne Knight


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