Alexander Pope

1 portrait on display in Room 12 at the National Portrait Gallery

Alexander Pope, by John Michael Rysbrack, 1730 - NPG 5854 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Alexander Pope

by John Michael Rysbrack
marble bust, 1730
20 5/8 in. (524 mm) high
Purchased through the National Heritage Memorial Fund, 1986
Primary Collection
NPG 5854


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Sitterback to top

  • Alexander Pope (1688-1744), Poet. Sitter associated with 44 portraits.

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  • John Michael Rysbrack (1694-1770), Sculptor. Artist associated with 16 portraits, Sitter in 7 portraits.

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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.

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