Joseph Nollekens Portrait Bust of Sir George Savile 1784

Joseph Nollekens
Portrait Bust of Sir George Savile 1784

V&A Images /VictoriaandAlbertMuseum

This portrait of the politician Sir George Savile (1726–1784) was based on a death mask (a cast taken directly from the face of the deceased). On seeing this bust, a contemporary remarked that ‘pensiveness and spiritual suffering still left their mark on the tender, manly features’. A naturalistic treatment of the facial features and hair is here combined with classical drapery, providing a likeness of the sitter while also evoking his public, political role.