Francis Hastings, 10th Earl of Huntingdon (1729-1789) courtier and diplomat
About the work
The Greek inscription on the bust can be roughly translated as the exhortation to 'Live! That is the sum total of all philosophies', or 'Live! That is the point of all words', a belief the Earl held. The sitter met Wilton in Florence in 1754, where the sculptor, who acted as a guide for English visitors to the Uffizi and Pitti collections, showed him statues and busts in the Uffizi Gallery. This bust was almost certainly that seen by Horace Walpole at Donington Park (then in Leicestershire and now in Lincolnshire) in 1768 and described as being in the Drawing Room there in the 1788 inventory. It was one of a number of works commissioned by the 10th Earl from Wilton, whose patrons also included Lord Chesterfield.
About the artist
Joseph Wilton was born in London; the son of an ornamental plasterer. He was educated in Hertfordshire before training in France under Flemish sculptor Laurent Delvaux and French sculptor Jean-Baptiste Pigalle. In 1747 he moved to Rome, where he sold casts and copies of antique sculpture. He moved to Florence in 1751. After his return to England in 1755 he supplied casts and copies to the Duke of Richmond’s academy of art in Whitehall and he and Italian painter Giovanni Battista Cipriani became the academy’s directors. In 1760, Wilton won a competition to design a monument to Major-General James Wolfe for Westminster Abbey. He served as Sculptor in Ordinary to King George III and Keeper of the Royal Academy. Wilton died in London, aged 81.
Joseph Wilton (1722 - 1803)
- Francis Hastings, 10th Earl of Huntingdon (1729-1789) courtier and diplomat
- Marble bust
- height: 63.50 cm, width: 55.00 cm, depth: 26.00 cm
- Purchased from Montague Marcussen, April 1947
- on socle: inscription in Greek; on socle/base: Francis Hastings Earl of Huntingdon: aetatis suae XXXI. MDCCLXI
- With Montague Marcussen Limited; from whom purchased by the Ministry of Works in April 1947
- GAC number