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John Warrington Wood, Sir Austen Henry Layard

Key facts
Full title Sir Austen Henry Layard
Artist John Warrington Wood
Artist dates 1839 - 1886
Date made 1881
Medium and support White Carrara marble
Dimensions 64 × 37 × 25.5 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated and inscribed
Acquisition credit Presented by Vice-Admiral Arthur John Layard Murray, 1943
Inventory number NG5449
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Sir Austen Henry Layard
John Warrington Wood

Austen Henry Layard (1817–1894) commissioned this marble bust of himself from the sculptor John Warrington Wood in Rome in 1881. It was remodelled from a bust sculpted by Wood in London in 1869, which was exhibited the following year at the Royal Academy. Layard was not pleased with the original bust so had this version made 12 years later. It is chiselled ‘AUSTEN HENRY LAYARD’ across the front.

Layard’s archaeological excavations in Assyria made his name while he was still only in his early thirties. Most of his massive finds from Nimrud and Nineveh now form the greater part of the British Museum’s collection of Assyrian antiquities.

He entered Parliament and held Cabinet office; served as ambassador in Madrid and Constantinople; became a Trustee of the National Gallery; and built up a large collection of paintings, mainly of works by Italian artists, most of which he bequeathed to the National Gallery.

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