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Attributed to John Cheere (d. 1787)

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) late eighteenth century

Marble | 71.0 x 48.0 x 24.0 cm (whole object) | RCIN 36980

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  • White marble bust of Shakespeare when a young man, his head turned slightly to the left, with hair brushed back, lightly bearded, wearing a buttoned chemise with tassels at the collar and cloak over right shoulder; on a turned socle.

    This bust of William Shakespeare is thought to have been made by the prominent eighteenth-century sculptor John Cheere (1709-1787) as it bears close similarities to another plaster example made by the same sculptor in 1762. This bust was acquired by George IV to be placed in the Grand Corridor at Windsor Castle. Now, it is usually kept in the Royal Library, and has been there for over a century.

    With the revival of theatre following the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, and especially throughout the eighteenth century, prominent literary figures like the poet Alexander Pope and the prominent actor (and later theatre manager) David Garrick set out to restore the status of William Shakespeare as England’s greatest literary figure. As William Shakespeare’s reputation grew, a new demand for representations and images of the Elizabethan poet and playwright arose. Busts such as this one attributed to John Cheere, and others made by prominent sculptors of the period John Michael Rysbrack and Louis-Francois Roubiliac, would have been commissioned along with others of English worthies from the fields of Arts, Philosophy and Science, to be displayed in the classical fashion in libraries and domestic galleries.

    Acquired by George IV

  • Medium and techniques



    71.0 x 48.0 x 24.0 cm (whole object)

  • Category

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