British Museum guidebook, £3.50
Height: 60.000 cm
M&ME 1871,6-13,1 (Pottery Catalogue F 3)
Room 46: Europe 1400-1800
Stoneware bust of Prince Rupert
London, England, about AD 1678
Made at John Dwight's factory in Fulham
Prince Rupert (1619-1682) was the grandson of
King James I of England and VI of Scotland. He spent his early life
in Holland, where he had an outstanding career as a soldier. During
the English Civil War he fought for the Royalists in most of the
major battles, and was promoted to general. After the Restoration
of Charles II to the throne in 1660, he distinguished himself in a
naval career, becoming First Lord of the Admiralty in 1673. Prince
Rupert was also an inventor of several metalworking processes,
among which was
The bust was made in the factory of John Dwight (died 1703), one of the greatest of English potters. Dwight was experimenting with clays from 1661 in an attempt to make porcelain.
The bust was perhaps modelled, in clay or possibly wood, by Edward Pearce, or Pierce (died 1695) for John Dwight. It is made up of several parts, some moulded and others formed by hand, and joined together. The name of the potter who made the bust is not known; it is unlikely that either Pearce or Dwight worked on it directly.
Creating such a large sculpture in stoneware is a remarkable achievement. The difficulty can be seen in the irregular colour and the cracking caused by the heat, particularly on the face.
A. Dawson, Portrait sculpture, a catalogu (London, The British Museum Press, 1999)