Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield (1804-1881) Prime Minister
About the work
Former Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli is most often depicted with a small amount of facial hair in the centre of his upper lip and a goatee beard, which extends up towards his lower lip. So this marble bust, showing him clean shaven but for a neat goatee beard beneath his chin, is unusual. However, the bust does include the curl of hair, high on Disraeli’s forehead, which features in many of his portraits.
Disraeli was a popular subject for both painted portraits and sculpted busts, made during his lifetime and after his death. The Government Art Collection also includes marble busts of the former Prime Minister by John Adams-Acton and attributed to Charles Bell Birch (1832-1892), and a terracotta bust by Count Gleichen (1833-1891). Frequently multiple versions of a bust would be made. This work by R. T. Smyth is unusual as it is the only known bust of its kind. It appears to be a moderately successful bust by a little-known sculptor, only one version of which was made, and that in itself makes this an interesting portrait.
About the artist
R T Smyth
- Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield (1804-1881) Prime Minister
- Marble bust
- height: 46.00 cm, width: 33.00 cm, depth: 16.00 cm
- Purchased from Christopher Wood Gallery, November 1979
- verso: R. T. SMYTH / 1884
- With Christopher Wood Gallery, London; from whom purchased by the Department of the Environment in November 1979
- GAC number