The Lost Armley House carved marble bust of “Napoleone” Bonaparte (1769-1821)
The Lost Armley House carved marble bust of “Napoleone” Bonaparte (1769-1821)
The Lost Armley House carved marble bust of “Napoleone” Bonaparte (1769-1821)
The Lost Armley House carved marble bust of “Napoleone” Bonaparte (1769-1821)
The Lost Armley House carved marble bust of “Napoleone” Bonaparte (1769-1821)

The Lost Armley House carved marble bust of “Napoleone” Bonaparte (1769-1821)

1829 England

Offered by Thomas Coulborn & Sons

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For His Patron and Second Cousin Benjamin Gott (1762-1840.

The sensational recent discovery of this important dated and inscribed bust of Napoleon finally dispels doubts about its existence under the hand of Gott. By the time Gott carved this bust of Napoleon he was living and working in Rome where the painter Thomas Lawrence had provided him with a pension and also a letter of introduction to the finest sculptor of his time, Antonio Canova.
In October 1827, Gott had returned to England to receive further commissions from his most important patron, the industrialist and art collector Benjamin Gott, one time Mayor of Leeds and friend of the engineer James Watt (1736-1819), whose engines powered the vast complex of spinning mills at Bean Ing, Wellington Road, Leeds, which fuelled Benjamin’s vast family wealth.
Benjamin’s artistic patronage began with the remodelling of Armley House, Leeds, which involved Robert Smirke (1781-1867) who was shortly to be appointed architect for the New British Museum, and the landscape work was undertaken by Humphrey Repton (1752-1818). Benjamin had, in the traditional way, collected old master paintings and had already commissioned busts of his friend James Watt and the engineer John Rennie (1761-1821) both by Sir Francis Chantrey (1781-1842). He went on to commission a total of 24 busts from his cousin Joseph, many of which are now in the collection of Leeds Museums.
Contemporary accounts confirm the high regard in which Gott was held. In 1828, J.M.W. Turner wrote to Sir Francis Chantrey remarking: ‘Sculpture of course, first, for it carries away all the patronage, so it is said in Rome….Gott’s studio is full.’ And in 1826, his fellow academician Thomas Unwins wrote: ‘Gott and Gibson, the English sculptors are getting for themselves and for their country a high reputation.’
Carved for the artist’s patron and cousin, Benjamin Gott (1762-1840), Armley House. By descent in family until sold Christie’s 1st December 1894 (lot 121) and bought by Thomas Gribble, Fine Art Commission Agent, London for £16.5.6d. Private (Noble) English Collection since 1894 and by descent.
Joseph Gott, 1786-1860, Sculptor, [catalogue of an exhibition held at Leeds, Stable Court Exhibition Galleries, Temple Newsam House, 23rd August-14th October 1972 and Liverpool Walker Art Gallery, 3rd November-3rd December 1972. The bust is included as G22 (page 29). The catalogue then erroneously (as we now know) suggests that the bust referred to is possibly the marble bust, inscribed “Canova”, purchased for and presented by Ernest W. Beckett (Lord Grimthorpe) to Leeds Art Gallery, 1861.
Aspects of Nineteenth Century Sculpture in Leeds, Part 2; Patronage Of The Benjamin Gott Family, Leeds Art Calendar No.70 (1972) Aspects of Nineteenth Century Sculpture in Leeds, Part 2; Patronage
Dimensions
Height 50.00 cm (19.69 inches)
Width 27.00 cm (10.63 inches)
Depth 22.00 cm (8.66 inches)
Stock Code
5913
Medium
Carved carrara marble
Signed/Inscribed
Signed and dated “J. Gott 1829”
Thomas Coulborn & Sons

Thomas Coulborn & Sons
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Sutton Coldfield
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