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John Liston in the Role of Lubin Log

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John Liston (c.1776-1846) was one of London's leading comic actors during the Regency and the first comedian to command a salary greater than that of a tragedian.

An early specialist in Cockney parts, he first found fame playing the buffoon in a double-act with Charles Mathews. Snub-nosed, red-cheeked and enormously broad-bottomed, Liston had only to appear on stage to set the audience laughing. He shrewdly chose costumes to accentuate his comic appearance and specialised in physical gags and easy humour. His most famous role, Paul Pry, in John Poole's comedy of that name, set the standard for every later performer of the part.

The present figure is a rare published plaster cast, retaining the original polychrome decoration, depicting John Liston in the role of Lubin Log, a leading character in Kenney's play Love, Law and Physic.

Standing 10 ¼ inches high and published circa 1820, the work is attributable to either Francis Philibert Hardenberg,  ‘a sculptor, plaster figure maker, petrifaction manufacturer and porcelain dealer’ or Lucius Gahagan, one of the Gaghagen family of sculptors. Both published a very similar and well known painted plaster figure of King George III  soon after the King’s death in 1820.

See the Simon Sainsbury sale held by Christies in June 2008, ‘The Creation of an English Arcadia’ for an example of the Gahagan figure or National Portrait Gallery, No. NPG 4383 for that by Hardenberg. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item Code: 1758

£ 1500

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