A Chelsea bust of William, Duke of Cumberland, circa 1750-52
Lot 53
A Chelsea bust of William, Duke of Cumberland, circa 1750-52
Sold for £15,625 (US$ 24,274) inc. premium

Lot Details
A Chelsea bust of William, Duke of Cumberland, circa 1750-52 A Chelsea bust of William, Duke of Cumberland, circa 1750-52
A Chelsea bust of William, Duke of Cumberland, circa 1750-52
Naturally modelled looking slightly to his right, his periwig coiffed with ringlets to each side tied in a bow, wearing a scaled breast plate surmounted by a mask of medusa, upon a turned wooden plinth, 14cm high, 21cm high overall including plinth

Footnotes

  • Provenance: From a British private collection. Prince William Augustus (1721-1765) was the youngest son of George II and Caroline of Ansbach. In 1726 he was created Baron of Alderney, Viscount Trematon, Earl of Kennington, Marquis of Berkhampstead and Duke of Cumberland. The Duke of Cumberland pursued a military career and on 16 April 1746 he commanded the loyalist troops against the Jacobite forces of Charles Edward Stuart. The loyalist victory at Culloden decisively halted the Jacobite rebellion, the aftermath of the battle and subsequent brutal crackdown on Jacobitism earning Cumberland the taunt "Butcher".

    There has been much speculation concerning the Duke of Cumberland's involvement in the Chelsea porcelain factory. An account exists by a Mr. Mason, who worked at the Chelsea factory transcribed by William Chaffers in the 1947 edition of his Marks and Monograms, p.937, 'I think the Chelsea China manufactory began about the year 1748 or 1749... It was first carried on by the Duke of Cumberland and Sir Everard Fawkener, and the sole management was entrusted to a foreigner of the name of Sprimont...' Sir Everard Fawkener was the Duke's secretary and there is no doubt Fawkener was closely involved with Nicholas Sprimont's porcelain business. Sir Charles Hanbury Williams arranged for Fawkener to borrow his collection of Meissen porcelain so that Chelsea could make copies. In a letter of 9 June 1751 to his friend Henry Fox, Hanbury-Williams wrote ...'I find also that the Duke is a great encourager of the Chelsea China, and has bespoke a set for his own Table.' Aside from providing the factory with his custom, it seems unlikely that the Duke had any financial involvement in the venture. Indeed, in a note published in 1763 Sprimont went to great lengths to disassociate himself with the Duke. 'The paragraph in the Gazetteer of Saturday, Dec 24 1763, that his Royal Highness the Duke of Cumberland has been lately at the manufactory, in order to purchase the secret is without Foundation.'

    Even if he was not a financial backer, the Duke was still an important and wealthy patron of the Chelsea factory and Sir Everard Fawkener no doubt encouraged the production of this bust of his employer. Elizabeth Adams discusses the Duke's involvement in her book Chelsea Porcelain (1987/2001) where she illustrates a similar bust from the British Museum, p.70, fig.6.7. Another example of this bust is in the Colonial Williamsburg collection, published by John Austin (1977) p.114, pl.107. Others are in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and in the Schreiber collection in the Victoria and Albert Museum. An example from Lord and Lady Fisher's collection is illustrated by Severne Mackenna (1948) pl.14, fig.35.
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