Rare Leeds figure of Isaac Newton, impressed mark, c. 1790


Rare Leeds figure of Sir Isaac Newton, enamelled in soft colours and a thick brown, modelled standing with a telescope in one hand, resting on a tabletop world globe from which he draws back a cloak, itself resting on a stack of leather-bound books, from which protrudes a paper with a comet & the date ‘1680’, on a square plinth with single line.


Circa 1790

27cm high


Condition: probable re-touching to the brown cloak, restoration to the upper tip of telescope

One other marked example of this figure is known, in the Temple Newsman House Collection, Leeds. However, it has some small differences, such as an ‘apple’ at his left foot, and the telescope within his hand is apparently a much narrower model (although this may be restoration).

The source of this figure is of great interest, as it shares a lot with a version produced by Ralph Wood in Staffordshire. This is explained by it coming from the ‘same mould’ – but the moulds themselves had to come from an original. There are a series of similar well-constructed & detailed figures that can be traced to one common source: the plaster models of the London sculptor Cheere, and although there is no surviving example of Newton, comparison with other Cheere/Wood figure connections give a strong suggestion this is also Newton’s origin.




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