Bristol, City Museum and Art Gallery, Michael Rysbrack, Sculptor (1694-1770), 6 March -- 1 May 1982, K. Eustace, ed., nos. 19,20.
Michael Rysbrack was the son of an Antwerp landscape painter and had his initial training in Flanders before coming to England in 1720. He first worked under the architect Gibbs, but soon made a name for himself as a sculptor of portrait busts and reigned, along with Roubiliac, as the pre-eminent sculptor of his day in London. This bust may be compared to several other documented works by Rysbrack, including the bust of the bookseller John Innys (Bristol, loc. cit.) and that of Edward de Bouverie in the collection of the Earl of Radnor.
It has been suggested that the sitter here may represent the satirist Jonathan Swift, which would correspond to its Irish provenance. The rectangular facial type does, indeed, relate closely to known portraits of Swift; however, other elements, such as his distinctively bushy eyebrows, are not evident here, and make a definite identification difficult.