Philanthropist and Politician Anthony Ashley-Cooper, seventh Earl of Shaftesbury married Lady Emily Cowper, whose widowed mother became the wife of the third Viscount Palmerston (later Prime Minister). Shaftesbury served as MP for Dorchester, Dorset and Bath. He became President of the Church Pastoral Aid Society and commissioner of the Board of Health. In 1861 he was awarded the Order of the Garter.
This plaster cast, taken from a cast in the National Portrait Gallery, was commissioned in 1977 for display in the government offices of the Employment Appeals Tribunal. The original terracotta version of the bust, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1876, remains at St. Giles House, the seat of the Earls of Shaftesbury at Wimborne St Giles in Dorset.
Joseph Edgar Boehm was born in Vienna; the son of a medallist, engraver and director of the imperial mint. He attended Leigh’s Art Academy, London (1848-51), before returning to Vienna to study medal design and modelling. From 1859 he lived in Paris. In 1862 he moved to London, eventually settling at The Avenue, Fulham Road, where studio assistants included Gilbert and Drury. His works are mostly marble busts, but he also produced church monuments and equestrian statuettes. He received over 40 royal commissions, taught Princess Louise, was the Queen’s Sculptor-in-Ordinary from 1880 and was made a baronet in 1889. He became a Royal Academician in 1881. Boehm died aged 56. Princess Louise’s presence at his death provoked considerable gossip.
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