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Bust of George Basevi (1794-1845): M.1-1853

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


Bust of George Basevi (1794-1845)


Sculptor: Nosotti, Charles Andrew (Attributed to)




Painted plaster portrait bust of George Basevi, architect of the Fitzwilliam Museum.

Legal notes

Given by Mr Smith in 1853

Measurements and weight

Height: 72.4 cm

Place(s) associated

  • London ⪼ England

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (1853) by Smith, Mr


19th Century
Production date: circa AD 1827


George Basevi was the architect who designed the Fitzwilliam Museum and its spectacular entrance hall. He chose the Neoclassical style (which had its roots in the buildings of ancient Greece and Rome), drawing inspiration from his teacher, John Soane (1753–1837). Basevi won the architectural competition for the design of the Fitzwilliam Museum in 1834, and supervised its construction from 1837 until his premature death in 1845, when he fell from a scaffold in Ely Cathedral. The Fitzwilliam is considered to be Basevi’s masterpiece, and the fullest realisation of Soane’s ideal of contemporary public architecture inspired by that of ancient Rome.

Previously attributed to an undocumented sculptor T.I. Mazzotti.

This bust was probably made using a cast of Basevi's head from the life. According to the Museum’s 1853 Handbook to the Pictures, it was made by a ‘Mr Nosotti’, likely to be Charles Andrew Nosotti from Milan who was in the decorative art business in London by 1822. Several other identical casts are known, including one in the Royal Institute of British Architects, reputedly delivered in 1827 to Painswick House, Gloucestershire, when Basevi was making additions to the house for his brother-in-law, W.H. Hyett MP. If true, this provides a date by which the life cast of Basevi’s head must have been made.

People, subjects and objects depicted


  • Sculpture UK

Components of the work

Decoration composed of paint
Base Height 11.4 cm

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Casting (process) : Plaster, cast, painted cream

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: M.1-1853
Primary reference Number: 29251
External ID: CAM_CCF_M_1_1853
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Friday 19 May 2023 Last processed: Thursday 3 August 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

Citation for print

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2023) "Bust of George Basevi (1794-1845)" Web page available at: Accessed: 2023-12-05 00:23:00

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{{cite web|url= |title=Bust of George Basevi (1794-1845) |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2023-12-05 00:23:00|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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