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This bust of the statesman and orator George Canning (1770-1827) was one of a group of national heroes commissioned by Sir Robert Vernon. Baily copied the bust of Canning (who died two years before this commission) from an 1810 bust by Joseph Nollekens. Canning was Foreign Secretary from 1807 to 1809, and 1822 to 1827, and Prime Minister shortly before his death in 1827. Busts such as this were intended to record the likeness of a subject, while the classical reference and durable material indicated the timeless nature of their achievements.

October 2013