Height: 68.500 cm
Presented by Sloane's daughters, Lady Cadogan and Mrs Stanley (1756)
Britain, Europe and Prehistory
Terracotta portrait bust of Sir Hans Sloane by Michael Rysbrack
England, around AD 1737
Sir Hans Sloane (1660-1753), who trained as a doctor, was President of the Royal College of Physicians and was physician to Queen Anne and King George III. As a scientist interested in natural history, he founded the Botanic Garden, now the Chelsea Physic Garden, in 1721, as a centre for the study of plants for medicinal use. Sloane is today remembered principally as a great collector and connoisseur; he had his own museum of ethnographic and other material, with a series of catalogues. Sloane's collection formed part of the original foundation of The British Museum, and his portrait can be seen among the thousands of objects he bequeathed to the Museum.
Michael Rysbrack (1694-1770) originated in Antwerp and was trained there before coming to London in 1720. He was the most prominent sculptor in the baroque style in Britain when this portrait was commissioned. Sloane's features are realistically depicted. The long wig and elaborate costume emphasize his status. The lively character of this bust and its rich surface, considered rare in Rysbrack's work, makes this bust one of his masterpieces.
A. Dawson, Portrait sculpture, a catalogu (London, The British Museum Press, 1999)
A. MacGregor (ed.), Sir Hans Sloane, collector, sc (London, The British Museum Press, 1994)