Francis, John (1780-1861; English)
Lord Melbourne 1837
Marble, 93.0 x 52.0 x 36.0 cm
Purchased, 1901 (advice of Bernard Hall); transferred from the NGV to the SLV, 1943
State Library of Victoria [LTS 39]

The sitter – after whom the city of Melbourne is named – was British Prime Minister when Port Phillip was settled in 1837, also the year in which this idealized, larger-than-life bust was carved and first shown at the Royal Academy. It was later owned by the Melbourne branch of the Oriental Bank (until 1884), and was then in a local private collection, from which it was acquired for the NGV for a negligible sum.

The artist trained with Sir Francis Chantrey (1781-1841), whose enobling style of portrait sculpture he emulated.

For another portrait of the sitter, with further information on him, see Dowling after Partridge Lord Melbourne 1884 {1884} NGV [PA].


SB vol.1, no.100 (following p.546), with added note regarding the transfer to the SLV in 1943; AR 1901, p.23 (describing the bust as “colossal”); NGV 1905, p.155 (VI.Sculpture – Entrance Hall, no.14) [£10]

For this work, see also SLV Art of the Collection (2007), p.22. For the artist, see Bénézit 5, p.992 (mentioning this work);  AKL 43 (2004), pp.421-22; and