Nollekens and His Times/Volume 2/Rysbrack


Roubiliac and Scheemakers's contemporary, John Michael Rysbrack, was born at Brussels, and was the son of a Landscape-painter, by whom there are several truly spirited etchings. He studied under Theodore Balant, a famous Sculptor; came to England in 1720, and resided in Vere-street, Oxford-street, where he had extensive workshops, which his great run of business required. On these premises he died, and was buried in Marylebone church-yard, near the Church, January 11th, 1770. After his decease, there were sales by auction held at his house, in one of which was an immense number of his own drawings mounted with uniform borders executed in bistre; and some of the most excellent of them are still to be found in the portfolios of collectors. I shall now insert a few cotemporary notices respecting some of his works in Sculpture, which have not hitherto been brought together in print, viz.:—

"Mr. Rysbrack carved the monument erected to the memory of Mrs. Oldfield, in the cloisters of Westminster Abbey."—Daily Advertiser March 4th, 1730.

"Sir Isaac Newton's monument (in Westminster Abbey) was designed by Kent and executed by Rysbrack; the scaffolding was taken from before it, on Saturday, April 24th, 1731."—From the same paper.

John Holles, Duke of Newcastle, Westminster Abbey.

Matthew Prior, ditto.

Admiral Vernon, ditto.

Earl Stanhope, ditto.

"Sir Godfrey Kneller's monument was designed and executed in Westminster Abbey by Michael Rysbrack and Lord Bingley."—Morning Advertiser, March, 1757.

"Cambridge, July 14th, 1756. A very fine marble statue done by Rysbrack, of the late Duke of Somerset, presented by the Duke's illustrious daughters, the Marchioness of Granby and Lady Guernsey."—Public Advertiser, July 20th, 1756.

"The noble statue of an Hercules, executed by the ingenious Mr. Rysbrack, is sent down to Sturton (Stourhead), in Wiltshire, the seat of Mr. Hoare, who has built a magnificent temple to receive it."—Public Advertiser, Jan. 12, 1757.

There is also a statue of Flora, by Rysbrack, at Stourhead.

"Rysbrack executed an elegant statue of that universally-beloved Governor of the Island of Barbadoes, the Hon. Henry Grenville, which was put up in the Town-Hall, anno 1756."

"A fine statue of that great and learned man, Mr. Locke, who was educated in Christ Church College, Oxon, is finished by Mr. Rysbrack, to be sent to that University."—Public Advertiser, Jan. 20, 1757.

Sir Hans Sloane, Physic-garden, Chelsea.

Ditto, a bust in the British Museum.

Charles, Duke of Somerset, and his Duchess, Salisbury Cathedral.

Lady Folkstone, Coleshill, Berks.

Lady Besborougb, Derby.

Henry second Duke of Beaufort, Badminton, Gloucestershire.

Henry third Duke, and Charles the fourth Duke, ditto.

John Duke of Marlborough, and his Duchess, Blenheim.

Doctor Radcliffe, Library, Oxford.

King Charles I. for George Selwyn.

Martin Folkes, a bust in the British Museum.

King George II. Greenwich Hospital.

Palladio, Inigo Jones, and Fiamingo, at the Duke of Devonshire's, Chiswick.

Statue of John Willett, Esq. uncle to Ralph Willett, Esq. whole-length, size of life, in the entrance-hall at Merly-House, in Dorsetshire: stands in niche at the south end.

The first sale of this artist's effects took place on April 18th, 1767, at his house in Vere-street, Oxford-street; the second on March 12th, 1770; and the third on the 28th of the same month, in which there were not fewer than three hundred drawings by him, chiefly washed in bistre. Mr. Rysbrack presented Mr. Garrick with one of his drawings, the subject being the Three Witches in Macbeth. This drawing is touched with great freedom, and is now in the possession of Mr. Dunn, Treasurer to Drury Lane Theatre.