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William Pitt (1759-1806), Statesman and Prime Minister: M.18-1947

Object information

Current Location: Founder's Entrance Hall Upper Landing


William Pitt (1759-1806), Statesman and Prime Minister


Sculptor: Nollekens, Joseph




White marble, posthumous. The sitter is turned to the front, facing and looking half left. He is bare-headed, shows his own hair and is clean-shaven. He has a bare throat, with drapery round the shouldes and neck, with an end hanging in front over his right shoulder.


History note: Formerly at Orwell Park, Suffolk; bought by Messrs Leonard Partridge, London, from whom it was bought by the donor.

Legal notes

Given by the first Lord Fairhaven

Place(s) associated

  • London ⪼ England

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (1947) by Lord Fairhaven


19th Century, Early#
Production date: AD 1806 : posthumous


Son of Pitt the Elder, William Pitt the Younger was a prominent British statesman of the Tory party. Educated at Pembroke College, Cambridge, he entered Parliament in 1781 and was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1782. He served as Prime Minister between 1783–1801 (the youngest in British history) and 1804–06. His death mask was the basis for this posthumous bust as well as for the full-length statue in the Senate House, Cambridge.

The sculptor Nollekens was trained in London by Peter Scheemakers. He then spent eight years in Rome (1762–70) working with Bartolomeo Cavaceppi restoring and copying antique marbles. On his return to England, he quickly gained a reputation for classicising portrait busts, monuments, and architectural sculpture. He became a Royal Academician in 1772 and continued to exhibit there until 1816. Nollekens was extremely prolific and successful but lived meanly, and was described unflatteringly as a miser by his biographer J.T. Smith. Smith stated that Nollekens and his workshop produced 74 marble versions of this particular bust which were sold at 120 guineas each, and 600 plaster casts sold at 6 guineas each. Given that the Fitzwilliam’s version is signed and dated 1806, it is likely to be amongst the first carved.

People, subjects and objects depicted


  • Sculpture UK

Components of the work

Bust Height 23 1/2 in
Plinth Height 4 3/4 in

Materials used in production

White marble

Techniques used in production

Carving : White marble, carved

Inscription or legends present

  • Text: Nollekens Ft/1806
  • Location: At the back
  • Method of creation: Inscribed

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: M.18-1947
Primary reference Number: 30986
External ID: CAM_CCF_M_18_1947
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Monday 18 December 2023 Last processed: Monday 18 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

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

Citation for print

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "William Pitt (1759-1806), Statesman and Prime Minister" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-06-22 02:04:37

Citation for Wikipedia

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{{cite web|url= |title=William Pitt (1759-1806), Statesman and Prime Minister |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-06-22 02:04:37|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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