This life-size bust is a lively and informal characterization of Roubiliac's friend, the English architect Isaac Ware (ca. 1707–66). Ware's costume, especially the soft cap, loosely fitting jacket with frog closures, and the open linen shirt, is in the style worn by artists and virtuosi of the 1730s and 1740s. A French émigré trained in Dresden and Paris, Roubiliac executed a series of marble and terracotta busts of eminent artists and scholars in London, including the painters William Hogarth and Francis Hayman, the composer George Frideric Handel, the poet and satirist Alexander Pope, and the scientist Sir Isaac Newton.
The well-known architect Isaac Ware published The Complete Book of Architecture (1735) and a translation of Andrea Palladio's Renaissance treatise The Four Books of Architecture (1738), and was purveyor of His Majesty's Works from 1741, the approximate date of this portrait.
Artist Louis Francois Roubiliac, English, 1702-1762
Title
  • Bust of Isaac Ware
Date ca. 1741
Medium marble
Dimensions Overall: 25 3/4 × 18 × 9 5/8 inches (65.4 × 45.7 × 24.4 cm)
Mount (pedestal): 49 7/16 × 16 3/4 × 16 3/4 inches (125.6 × 42.5 × 42.5 cm)
Credit Line Founders Society Purchase, Robert H. Tannahill Foundation Fund, Henry Ford II Fund, New Endowment Fund, with funds from A. Alfred Taubman
Accession Number 1987.75
Department European Sculpture and Dec Arts
On View British S361, Level 3 (see map)
Described in the 1773 inventory of Sir John Ingilby, Ripley Castle, Yorkshire;
by descent to the family of Sir Thomas Ingilby, Ripley Castle, Yorkshire, until 1987.
Rococo Art and Design in Hogarth's England. Exh. cat., Victoria and Albert Museum. London, cat. no. E15.

Smith, John Thomas. Nollekens and His Times, vol II. London, 1828, pp. 207-8.

Historic Houses Association Exhibition. Sales cat., Sotheby's, London, 1983-4.

An Inventory Of Household Goods, Furniture, Implements . . . And Other Articles Late The Property Of Sir John Ingilby Of Ripley In The County Of York, 1773.

Esdaile, K.A. The Life and Works of Louis Francois Roubiliac. London, 1928, pp. 47, 108-9, 134, 187.

Ripley Castle, North Yorkshire. York, 1986, p. 16.

Bulletin of the DIA 64, nos 2/3 (1988): 4, fig. 3, (ill.).

Baker, M. "The Making of Portrait Busts in the Mid-Eighteenth Century: Roubiliac, Scheemakers and Trinity College, Dublin." The Burlington Magazine 137 (December 1985): 828.

Darr, A. P. "European sculpture and decorative arts acquired by the Detroit Institute of Arts 1978-87." The Burlington Magazine 130 (June 1988): pp. 497-8, fig. 108 (ill.).

Darr, A. P. "Virtuoso Carving: Three Eighteenth-Century British Portrait Sculptures by Le Marchand, Roubiliac, and Chaffers." Bulletin of the DIA 83, no. 1/4 (2009): 44-6.