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Sir George Savile, Bart (1726-1784), Whig Politician: M.19-1947

Object information

Current Location: Founder's Entrance Hall Upper Landing


Sir George Savile, Bart (1726-1784), Whig Politician


Sculptor: Nollekens, Joseph




Bust. White marble. The sitter is turned to the front, facing and looking a quarter to the right, the head inclined slightly forward. He is bare-headed. His hair is taken back from the forehead and falls in thick curls behind. He is clean-shaven. His throat is bare; his shoulders and bust are covered by drapery.


History note: Earls of Mexborough (presumably acquired by John Savile, 2nd Earl of Mexborough (1761-1830) who succeeded his father in 1778) bought by Messrs Leonard Partridge, London, 1945; bought by the first Lord Fairhaven by whom given to the Fitzwilliam Museum

Legal notes

Given by Lord Fairhaven

Place(s) associated

  • London ⪼ England

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (1947) by Lord Fairhaven


18th Century
Circa 1784 - Circa 1823


Sir George Savile, 8th Baronet of Thornhill, was a leading Whig politician. Born into an ancient Yorkshire family, he was MP for the county between 1759 and 1783.

The German novellist, Sophie von la Roche (1730–1807) visited Nollekens’ studio in 1786 and recorded, ‘Mr Nollekens had over six bust portraits of the estimable Savile to complete for his friends, two of whom sent for him with great dispatch on the death of Savile, so as to have an immediate cast of his features. He showed us this mould, from which it is evident that the good man had passed beyond all feeling … the veins were still pulsing with the last beats of his charitable heart; pensiveness and spiritual suffering still left their mark on the tender, manly features.’ The Fitzwilliam’s bust must be one of these six semi-completed busts, and may have been commissioned by John Savile, 2nd Earl of Mexborough (1761–1830), presumably a relative of the sitter, as he is the first known owner.

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.

People, subjects and objects depicted


  • Sculpture UK

Components of the work

Bust Height 23 1/4 in
Plinth Height 6 1/4 in

Materials used in production

White marble

Techniques used in production

Carving : White marble

Inscription or legends present

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

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: M.19-1947
Primary reference Number: 31014
External ID: CAM_CCF_M_19_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) "Sir George Savile, Bart (1726-1784), Whig Politician" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-07-18 10:17:56

Citation for Wikipedia

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{{cite web|url= |title=Sir George Savile, Bart (1726-1784), Whig Politician |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-07-18 10:17:56|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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