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Unknown, Cast of a bust of Sir Christopher Wren
Unknown, Cast of a bust of Sir Christopher Wren
Unknown, Cast of a bust of Sir Christopher Wren
Unknown, Cast of a bust of Sir Christopher Wren

Cast of a bust of Sir Christopher Wren, 1673

Unknown

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.

Further Reading

Margaret Whinney, Sculpture in Britain 1530-1830, London, 1988, pp.102-5

Object details

Title
Cast of a bust of Sir Christopher Wren
Artist/designer
Original attributed to
Edward Pierce (ca. 1635 - 1695)
Date
1673
Object type
Sculpture
Medium
Plaster
Dimensions

760 mm x 560 mm x 300 mm

Collection
Royal Academy of Arts
Object number
04/1139
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