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Sir Richard Westmacott (1775-1856)

David Garrick c. 1791-2

Marble | 83.0 x 54.5 x 29.0 cm (including base/stand) | RCIN 1391

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  • In this bust the greatest actor of the eighteenth century is portrayed in Roman garb befitting the heroic status he had achieved in his own time. Garrick was held in great esteem by George III. After he moved to London in 1737, Garrick (1717-79) scored early successes and rapidly achieved wealth and widespread fame. Garrick was particularly known for his portrayal of Shakespeare roles, and for his promotion of Shakespeare plays.

    Such was the King’s admiration for Garrick that in September 1761 he took Queen Charlotte to his performance in The Rehearsal at Drury Lane, two days after her marriage, which itself had taken place on the very day of her arrival in England for the first time.

    This portrait is a version of Westmacott’s bust - in Lichfield Cathedral - by which Garrick was commemorated in the city of his birth. His remains lie side by side with those of his lifelong friend, Samuel Johnson, in Westminster Abbey. In his long and prolific career Westmacott made very few portrait busts, but his first two exhibits at the Royal Academy in 1797 were in this form, and this bust closely resembles one of them, a posthumous portrait of the architect Sir William Chambers (marble; London, Sir John Soane’s Museum). All three share a crudeness that might be expected in such early works.

    Catalogue entry adapted from George III & Queen Charlotte: Patronage, Collecting and Court Taste, London, 2004

    First noted (together with a bust of Dr Johnson) when sent from Carlton House to Windsor Castle by order of George IV, November 1828

  • Medium and techniques



    83.0 x 54.5 x 29.0 cm (including base/stand)

    65.0 x 54.5 x 29.0 cm (excluding base/stand)