3 of 44 portraits of Alexander Pope
by John Michael Rysbrack
marble bust, 1730
20 5/8 in. (524 mm) high
Purchased through the National Heritage Memorial Fund, 1986
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Artistback to top
- John Michael Rysbrack (1694-1770), Sculptor. Artist associated with 16 portraits, Sitter in 7 portraits.
This portraitback to top
This bust was carved for Pope's architect James Gibbs and was described by Horace Walpole as 'very like'. Pope suffered from curvature of the spine, probably caused by Pott's disease. His enemies mocked his body and attacked this bust while it was still in progress in 1729, as 'half man, half monkey'. To which Pope replied in verse: Tis granted Sir; the Busto's a damn'd head, Pope is a little Elf, All he can say for't, is, He neither made, The busto, nor himself.