John Gibson (Conway, 1790-1866, Rome)
Portrait bust of a Nobleman, presumed to be Lord Monson of Burton, Lincolnshire, England
Executed circa 1829
Signed with inscription on reverse: I GIBSON FT ROMAE
Height: 72 cm. / 28 ½ ins incl. socle
John Gibson was one of the foremost Neoclassical sculptors of the nineteenth century. The present signed portrait by Gibson is presumed to depict Frederick John Monson, 5th Baron Monson of Burton, Lincolnshire. It was carved in Gibson’s studio in Rome, which was a place of interest for wealthy tourists on the Grand Tour. In this bust Gibson contrasts the sitter’s powerful facial features with the typically English restraint of his calm, Stoic expression. The sharp, curling strands of hair are carved in a manner reminiscent of classical Greek examples (such as Polykleitos’s Doryphorus), which had a particularly strong influence on the work of Gibson, who aspired to the ideal of classical Greek form and bodily perfection.