Female heads

April 14, 2009

Possibly by Sir Richard Westmacott 1775 - 1856
Bust, probably Harrier Elizabeth; Lady Beresford
About 1825
The blank eyes of this bust suggest it was made after the sitter's death. Harrier, Lady Beresford ( 1790 - 1825 ) died aged 35, within nine months of her father, and Westmacott execured a funerary monument to them both in the church of St Gregory, Bedale, Yorkshire.
Museum no.A.32-1931. Given by Dr W.L. Hildburgh FSA

David d'Angers 1788 - 1856
Bust of Lady Morgan
Signed and dated 1830
Lady Morgan ( about 1778 - 1859 ) was a highly successful Irish novelist, whose works championed the dispossessed Catholics and the rights of women. She was less than four feet high and had a slighty déformity of the spine and face. This bust, commissioned by her from a leadin French sculptor, captures her lively and determined personality.
Museum no. 6811 - 1860. Given by the Trustees of the National Gallery

Antonio Canova 1757 - 1822
Helen of Troy
After 1812
In Greek mythology Helen, the daughter of the god Zeus, was famed for her great beauty. She married Menelaus, King of Sparta, but was anducted by the Trojan prince Paris. So began the long war between the Greeks and Trojans. Lord Byron wrote a poem about this bust, which he saw in another version in Venice.
Museum no.A.46-1930. Given by the National Portrait Gallery, London.

In this beloved marble view,
Above the works and thoughts of man,
What nature could, but would not, do,
And Beauty and Canova can!
Beyond imagination's power,
Beyond the bard's defeated art,
With immortality her dower,
Behold the Helen of the heart!

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    • #
      2009.06.19 Edited

      I'm beginning to worry that you're encroaching on my territory, which wouldn't worry me so much if you weren't so good at it!