Hubert Le Sueur came to London in the retinue of Charles I's bride Henrietta Maria, the daughter of Henry IV of France, in 1625. He was a skilled bronze founder and among the earliest of approximately fifty commissions that he undertook for Charles I was a series of bronze casts after the Antique for the King's gardens at St James's Palace (now at Windsor Castle). His portrait busts of the King derive from the armoured equestrian statue now in Trafalgar Square, which was completed by Le Sueur in 1633 for the Lord Treasurer, Sir Richard Weston. The earliest of this pattern was ordered by Archbishop Laud in 1636 for presentation to Oxford University and remains in the Bodleian Library. The present bronze, though not as fine as the Bodleian example, was evidently cast in the seventeenth century and has the same touchstone socle. Abraham van der Doort recorded three busts of the King by Le Sueur at Whitehall Palace in 1639, of which one, in the Cabinet Room, may have been of this type.
The first unmistakable reference to this bust is in Benjamin Jutsham's Receipts ledger for 1820, when it arrived at Carlton House, probably as a new acquisition. Further examples of the bust continued to be made in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, including two others in the Royal Collection. This bust is thought to have been recorded in the Grand Corridor at Windsor in 1846.
Catalogue entry from Royal Treasures, A Golden Jubilee Celebration, London 2002
ProvenanceProbably acquired by George IV, 1820. Delivered to Carlton House on 28th April 1820 (Jutsham II, p. 97).
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