Charles James Fox
Joseph Nollekens, RA (London 1737 – London 1823)
Marble on marble socle, The Hon. Charles James Fox MP (1749-1806), Joseph Nollekens, RA (1737–1823), after 1802. A portrait bust of Charles James Fox, cloaked, looking out to proper right. Mounted on a turned marble socle.
A portrait bust of Charles James Fox, a Whig politician who was Britain’s first Foreign Secretary, serving in the post for three brief stints in 1782, 1783 and 1806. A political radical with a notorious private life, Fox is remembered for his skills as an orator, his republicanism - he opposed George III and supported the French Revolution - and his campaign to abolish slavery. Nollekens produced two busts of Fox in 1791 and 1802. Numerous versions of both types exist, however this example at Ickworth is of the second Fox, depicted with cropped hair rather than the curly toupee of Nollekens' earlier model (see Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection, inv.no. B1977.14.16). The sculptor's busts of Fox were usually paired with busts of Fox's Tory rival William Pitt the Younger (1759-1806). Together they became known as 'stock pieces' in Nollekens' repertoire and were produced at a prolific rate for country house collections across Britain. Variants of the 1802 bust are in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (inv.no. A.1-1945), Lady Lever Art Gallery, Liverpool (inv.no. LL726) and in the National Portrait Gallery, London (NPG 3887). Alice Rylance-Watson January 2019
Part of the Bristol Collection. The house and contents were acquired through the National Land Fund and transferred to the National Trust in 1956.
Ickworth, The Bristol Collection (acquired through the National Land Fund and transferred to The National Trust in 1956)
Makers and roles
Joseph Nollekens, RA (London 1737 – London 1823), sculptor
Bilbey and Trusted 2002: Diane Bilbey and Marjorie Trusted, British Sculpture 1470 to 2000, A Concise Catalogue of the Collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London 2002, pp.98-99, no.133