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Joseph Nollekens, 1737–1823
William Le Marchant Porret
Former Title(s):
William Le Marchant
ca. 1800
Materials & Techniques:
Overall: 24 x 14 1/4 x 7 inches (61 x 36.2 x 17.8 cm)

Chiseled on supporting column on back of bust: "London."

Signed by chisel on supporting column on back of bust: "Nollekens Ft."

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Paintings and Sculpture
Subject Terms:
boy | portrait
Not on view
IIIF Manifest:

This touching posthumous memorial was commissioned from Joseph Nollekens by the grieving parents of a fifteen-year-old schoolboy who "died at an Academy on Wandsworth Common," presumably as the result of an accident. In these circumstances, by no means rare, sculptors were confronted with the problem of how to create a plausible likeness. Siblings were often recruited as substitute sitters, with modifications, but rarely if ever did an image of the dead child exist from which to extrapolate a three-dimensional portrait. For almost a century in England, from the 1730s until the 1820s, average life expectancy steadily improved, but poor life expectancy at birth still made infancy the most perilous time of life, and childhood mortality remained shockingly high.

Gallery label for installation of YCBA collection, 2005

John Kenworthy - Browne, Inscriptions: a document from the studio of Joseph Nollekens (1737-1823), Sculpture Journal, vol. 19, 2010, p. 114, NB1 S39 (HAAS) [ORBIS]

Ingrid Roscoe, A biographical dictionary of sculptors in Britain, 1660-1851, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 2009, p. 907, no. 243, NB496 B56 2009 (YCBA) (Wall Shelf 3) Yale electronic resource also available online: Orbis [YCBA]

Angus Trumble, The Marble Bust, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 2004, no. 7, V 1304 (YCBA) [YCBA]

David Wilson, The Boy in the Temple, Joseph Nollekens' last portrait bust of Bob St John , British Art Journal, vol. 2, Spring/Summer 2006, pp. 22-23, N6761 B747 OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

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