John Michael Rysbrack
Sculptor, Visual Artist
1694 – 1770
Who was John Michael Rysbrack?
Rysbrack was born in Antwerp, and was the brother of Pieter Andreas Rysbrack. He studied drawings by Italian masters, before settling in London in 1720, where he quickly established himself as the leading sculptor, a position he was to retain until the mid-1740s, remaining one of the top three sculptors in Britain until shortly before his death. He produced vivid portraits and monuments of lively baroque composition, rapidly establishing himself as a highly sought-after sculptor. He executed busts and funerary monuments of many of the most prominent men of his day, including the monument to Isaac Newton in Westminster Abbey, a statue of Marlborough, and busts of Walpole, Bolingbroke, and Pope. Dr Cox Macro commissioned him to make a bust of Flemish painter Peter Tillemans on his death in 1734.
In 1733 Rysbrack carved a magnificent marble portrait bust of George Hamilton, 1st Earl of Orkney in the guise of a Roman centurion. Orkney was a distinguished general serving under the Duke of Marlborough.
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