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Wax relief of Thomas Burgess (1756-1837) by Richard Cockle LucasUniversity of Wales, Lampeter. If you would like to see the original item, or require information regarding copyright, please contact the repository/contributor named above.
Thomas Burgess (1756-1837) was the founder of St David's College, Lampeter. He was the Bishop of St David's from 1803 to 1825, and of Salisbury from 1825 until his death.
Still in its heavy original frame, this wax relief shows a left-facing bust of Burgess modelled in white wax on a dark-brown oval background, also of wax. The wax oval is set in a recessed surround of deep orange/ginger velvet which was once (as restoration revealed when the frame was removed) a deep crimson.
Lucas was born in Salisbury and died at Chilworth near Winchester, and was thus a natural choice to execute the work. The Burgess relief is made all the more interesting because pasted to its back is a printed notice signed 'RCLucas Otterbourne Winchester' which reads:
'Extract from the Salisbury and Winchester Journal, April 1, 1843.
Bust of the late Bishop Burgess. - The admired bust of the late Bishop Burgess, modelled by our townsman, Mr. Lucas, the eminent sculptor, and by him presented to the late Mr. Davies of the Close, was yesterday (Friday), at the sale by Mr. Sutton of that gentleman's effects, after a warm and spirited competition, knocked down at the sum of 120 guineas. The bust in question, which is beautifully modelled in wax, is about six inches in height. It is esteemed a wonderful likeness of our late Diocesan.'
The relief was purchased by the University at an auction in the north of England some time late in the 1950s or early 1960s; but whether the equivalent of 120 guineas (£126) was paid for it is not recorded.
Source: A. J. Brothers, 'Art at Lampeter', in 'A bold imagining: University of Wales Lampeter 1827-2002', eds Keith Robbins and John Morgan-Guy, 2003