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Isaac Fuller, 1606/20–1672

Edward Pierce

ca. 1670
Materials & Techniques:
Oil on canvas
49 x 40 inches (124.5 x 101.6 cm)
Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Paintings and Sculpture
Subject Terms:
art | artist | bust | gesture | man | portrait | ruffles | sculptor | sculpture
Associated People:
Pearce, Edward (c.1635–1695), architect and sculptor
Not on view
IIIF Manifest:

Edward Pierce, or Pearce the Younger (ca. 1635–1695), was an architect and sculptor who became the “master mason” or principal contractor for four of Christopher Wren’s churches, and for parts of St. Paul’s Cathedral, reconstructed following the Great Fire of 1666. Equally famous for his busts, Pierce left behind effigies of some of the most notable figures of the period, including John Milton, Oliver Cromwell, and Wren himself. Pierce was also an art collector. The Roman bust (or replica) that he rests his hand upon alludes to the importance that classical precedents held for artists, but it may also depict an actual object in his collection. Isaac Fuller, an Englishman, is said to have trained in France before traveling to Italy. Based in London for most of his career, Fuller was primarily known for his history paintings and theatrical scenery, though he also maintained a regular practice as a portraitist.

Gallery label for installation of YCBA collection, 2016

The architect and sculptor Edward Pearce (ca. 1635-1695), was a pupil of Edward Bird, an artist-craftsman who had a near-monopoly of painting and gilding balls and weather-vanes for Sir Christopher Wren's many London churches. Pearce went on to become the "master mason" or principal building contractor for four of Wren's churches, and for parts of the vast project to re-build St. Paul's Cathedral. He was also famous for his portrait busts of famous men, including John Milton (Christ's College, Cambridge), Oliver Cromwell (National Portrait Gallery, London), and Sir Christopher Wren (Ashmolean Museum, Oxford). Pearce was also an enthusiastic art collector and connoisseur, and the inclusion here of an ancient Roman bust on which the artist rests his left hand alludes more to that aspect of his life than to his work as a sculptor.

Gallery label for installation of YCBA collection, 2005

Roy C. Strong, The British portrait, 1660-1960, Antique Collectors' Club, Woodbridge, Suffolk, 1991, pp. 100-01, pl. 89, ND1314 B743 1991 (YCBA) [YCBA]

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