XQG 2004 GIII 253
This bust of George III’s ageing grandfather, commissioned by Field-Marshal Lord Ligonier (1680-1770), reveals the extent by which Roubiliac surpassed all his contemporaries in the carving of marble. The distinct character of each material, whether steel, silk, hair or ageing skin, is conveyed to an almost miraculous degree, while the extravagant knot in the end of the King’s mantle stands on its own as a masterpiece of trompe-l’oeil. It was Roubiliac’s practice to arrange or ‘model’ real drapery before applying starch to fix it in the form in which he wanted to carve it in marble.
A payment of £153 11s to Roubiliac in February 1763, referred to in Ligonier’s regimental accounts (archives of Lloyds Bank), probably applies to this commission. George II disliked having his portrait taken, and no sittings are recorded for this bust. - It seems likely that the King’s bust was produced after his death (aged 76) in October 1760, and that the likeness was based on a portrait made in his last years.
Catalogue entry adapted from George III & Queen Charlotte: Patronage, Collecting and Court Taste, London, 2004