John Bacon

Sickness

1778

On display at Tate Britain

Medium
Marble
Dimensions
Object: 584 x 368 x 250 mm
Collection
The Royal Academy of Arts, London
On short term loan
Reference
X47448

Display caption

Bacon was one of the most prolific and successful sculptors of his day. He was particularly esteemed for monuments, including one to the philanthropist Thomas Guy, for Guy’s Hospital (where it can still be seen). This bust was developed from the head of a cadaverous figure who is depicted in that monument, being helped to his feet by Guy. Bacon presented the bust to the Royal Academy when he was elected an Academician in 1778. Its fine bone structure and taut skin convey illness. So too, perhaps, does the surface of the marble which is unpolished and slightly weathered in appearance.

Gallery label, February 2016