Cast of a bust of Sir Christopher Wren, 1673
RA Collection: Art
On free display in Central Hall
Edward Pierce sculpted his marble portrait bust of Sir Christopher Wren, of which this is a plaster cast, in 1672. Pierce’s sculpture, which shows a mastery of the Baroque idiom of Bernini and Coysevox, was unprecedented in English sculpture of this date. The sculptor’s assimilation of the style (evident above all in the flowing drapery) is all the more remarkable given that he is not believed to have travelled abroad. For this reason Margaret Whinney suggests that Wren (who had seen Bernini’s bust of Louis XIV in France in 1665) may have had some say in its design. Regardless, the result was the most memorable of all likenesses of the great architect.
This cast is one of eight busts of artists and architects installed in the 'Octagon' in the Main Galleries at Burlington House when the RA moved there in 1868.
Margaret Whinney, Sculpture in Britain 1530-1830, London, 1988, pp.102-5
Start exploring the RA Collection
- Explore art works, paint-smeared palettes, scribbled letters and more...
- Artists and architects have run the RA for 250 years.
Our Collection is a record of them.