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William Pitt, First Earl of Chatham (1708-1778), Statesman and Prime Minister

Maker(s) &

Wilton, Joseph, sculptor, British sculptor, 1722-1803, England






circa 1745 before 1778


18th century


Bust. White marble. The sitter is turned to the front, facing and looking a little left. He is bare-headed with his hair curling and lying low on the nape of the neck. He is clean shaven, he has a bare throat, and his shoulders and bust are covered by drapery.


carving; whole


white marble; whole


white marble


height, bust, 25.0, in
height, plinth, 5 3/4, in


given; 1937; The Friends of the Fitzwilliam Museum


Collection of the Duke of Newcastle at Clumber Park. Sold in the Earl of Lincoln's Sale, Christie's catalogue, 19th October 1937, lot 344.


Identified by Ellis Waterhouse, 9th August 1951. There is a bust at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, signed, named (William Pitt) and dated 1759. From the Roseberg Collection at Dalmeny in the 1890s, and afterwards at Epsom.
Joseph Wilton trained as a sculptor with Laurent Delvaux at Nivelles in Flanders and from 1744 with Jean-Baptiste Pigalle in Paris. In 1747 he travelled to Rome and then about 1750 moved to Florence. He returned to England in 1755 with the architect William Chambers, whose friendship helped him to gain patrons. In 1766 he carved the life-size marble of George II in the Senate House, Cambridge. Wilton was one of the Foundation Members of the Royal Academy in 1768, and in 1790 became Keeper of its collections.
William Pitt, a politician known as 'The Great Commoner', was created first Earl of Chatham in 1766, when he formed a short-lived ministry. This classizing portrait is undated, but may have been executed in 1766, the year of the Repeal of the Stamp Act which made Pitt popular in the American Colonies. A similar bust in terracotta was given to the Fogg Museum in 1769 by Benjamin Franklin. The Earl of Chatham was the father of William Pitt, the Prime Minister, whose bust by Joseph Nollekens is also in the Fitzwilliam.

Acquisition Credit:

Given by the Friends of the Fitzwilliam Museum


Treasures from the Fitzwilliam, "The Increase of Learning and other great Objects of that Noble Foundation". 1989-03-19 - 1990-09-09
Organiser: The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (Cambs.), UK
Venue: National Gallery of Art, Washington, Washington
Notes: National Gallery of Art, Washington, and four other American venues to 9th September 1990.
Catalogue number: 103


1989 - 90. Treasures from the Fitzwilliam: ''The Increase of Learning and other great Objects of that Noble Foundation''.Cambridge (Cambs.): p. p. 104
Publ. p. 104, cat. no. 103

Gunnis, Rupert. 1953. Dictionary of British Sculptors 1660-1851.London:

, The Fitzwilliam Museum1938. Friends of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Twenty-ninth Annual Report, for the Year 1937.Cambridge (Cambs.): p. p. 4
Publ. Illustrated, p. 4, no. 3

Christie's. 1989. Important European Sculpture and Works of Art, 5th December 1989.London?: p. p. 107
Cf. Another, p. 107, lot 194 (Est. £20,000-30,000)


Object Number: M.65-1937
(Applied Arts)
(record id: 30966; input: 2001-06-25; modified: 2016-08-11)


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